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But did you know that some common medications can cause high blood pressure? A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that the chemical components of certain drugs can raise blood pressure and doctors remain dangerously unaware. Researchers involved in the study commented that just because something can be purchased ‘over-the- counter’ doesn’t mean it’s necessarily harmless.
Many of the medications that are linked to a rise in blood pressure are quite widely used. For example, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs) were shown “to produce a clinically significant increment in mean BP of 5 mm Hg.” Similarly, several studies linked acetaminophen with a notably higher incidence of elevated blood pressure in those patients with coronary artery disease.
The study also showed that decongestants and cough medicine containing pseudoephedrine, epinephrine and phenylephrine have been reported to cause severe high blood pressure in some individuals. Antidepressants were responsible for causing a mild dose-dependent increase in blood pressure among those taking them, and they were also capable of triggering high blood pressure in those who tended specifically towards panic disorders.
Hypertension develops in at least 20 percent of patients taking synthetic corticosteroids. Oral cortisol at prescribed doses of 80-200 mg/day can raise systolic BP as much as 15 mm Hg within 24 hours. Oral contraceptives can cause elevated blood pressure in roughly 5 percent of those who take them, where combined doses contain at least 50 ug of estrogen and 1-4 mg of progestin. The increased BP is usually minimal, however severe hypertensive episodes can occur.
Hypertension is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke and many people are not even aware they may have it. High blood pressure is considered anything over 140/90. So if you regularly take any of these medications, make sure to get your blood pressure checked at each doctor’s visit and let your physician know what drugs you take and how often you take them.
Trying to find a cure for baldness has been about as easy as trying to find a needle in a haystack. But this may all be about to change because scientists have identified a protein called PGD2 in the scalps of men with male pattern baldness. Researchers say if they can find a way to keep this protein from attaching to hair follicle receptors, they could prevent baldness.
The study, published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, examined samples from 17 men with hair loss and found that their bald scalp tissue had three times the levels of PGD2 compared with the hair-covered tissue from the same individual. PGD2 causes baldness through a receptor called GPR44. The hope is to develop a way to block this receptor.
Male pattern baldness affects 8 out of 10 men under the age of 70, and causes hair follicles to shrink and create microscopic hairs, which grow for shorter time periods than normal follicles.
The scientists in the study wrote that this discovery could very well lead to new treatments for the most common cause of hair loss in men.
While high-fat foods taste good to most of us, some people don’t enjoy the flavor of rich, fatty food at all. New research appearing in this month’s issue of the Journal of Food Science confirms that two distinct genes might have very specific functions when it comes to enjoying dietary fat. By understanding the part that these two genes play, researchers may be able to assist those who have difficulty managing the amount of fat they consume.
Investigators established the fat preference of more than 300 adults who possessed the CD36 “fat receptor “gene. They found that 21 percent of these study participants had a higher preference for added fats like salad dressings and oils.
The researchers also investigated another gene — the TAS2R38 gene — which controls bitter taste. About 70 percent of the population are “tasters” of these compounds, while the rest of the population are “nontasters.” Results of this research imply that nontasters of these compounds have a difficult time detecting dietary fat in foods and may consume higher-fat foods to compensate.
While the reason for weight gain has always been multifactorial, health professionals continue to examine the role that genotypes may play in weight management.
For thousands of years, honey was revered for its medicinal properties. It was used to help treat wounds, before the discovery of drugs like penicillin and other antibiotics. Since antibiotics were invented, honey has taken a back seat. But all that might be about to change, according to a new study published in Microbiology.
Scientists found that a particular type of honey called manuka honey was able to heal chronic wound infections and even prevent them from developing in the first place. This honey is made from flowers of the manuka bush found in New Zealand. All honey possesses hydrogen peroxide that bees add to nectar, but in manuka honey, something else is added. Scientists have not been able to isolate what this other ingredient is, but they’ve named it unique manuka factor (UMF), and they have been able to measure its antibacterial efficacy.
Life-threatening skin infections like Methicillin–resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have become resistant to antibiotics and often fail to respond to treatment. This is mostly due to the development of “biofilms” which prevent antibiotics from gaining access to the wound. Theoretically, biofilms are the environments that contain the bacteria. Researchers found that only very small concentrations of manuka honey were required to prevent biofilm development, and that using the honey for two hours killed up to 85% of bacteria within the wounds.
These findings provide further evidence for the clinical use of manuka honey to treat leg ulcers, pressure sores, or any other type of bacterial infections that may be resistant to antibiotics. Applying manuka honey directly to the skin to treat serious wounds would appear to be a safer alternative to systemic antibiotics and may well complement antibiotic use in the future.
Scientists at the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine found that bisphenol A (BPA) may cause serious heart problems in women. This new research will be published in the February 2012 issue of Endocrinology.
BPA, an environmental pollutant, is found in clear plastic containers, in the epoxy lining of canned foods, in dental sealants, and even in cash register receipts. BPA is so pervasive that nearly everyone living in the developed world comes across at least trace amounts of this compound. Researchers believe that these low concentrations are capable of causing heart problems for women because of the way BPA mimics estrogen’s effect on the heart.
For the study, scientists exposed female heart tissue to levels of BPA similar to what has been discovered in humans. They found that very low concentrations triggered heart-muscle cells to result in unsynchronized beatings called arrhythmias, which can cause a heart attack.
Although completely eliminating exposure to bisphenol A may be very difficult to do, there are ways to reduce one’s exposure to this chemical:
1. Avoid canned foods, because their epoxy liners are made from BPA. If that’s not possible, rinse the can’s contents, as water may reduce the amount of BPA that’s ingested.
2. Don’t use polycarbonate plastics for hot food or drinks, as heat causes more BPA to leach into food.
3. Use glass bottles and jars instead of plastic whenever possible. If they must be used, look for plastics with the number 1, 2 or 4 stamped on the bottom. These do not contain BPA.
4. Avoid putting any plastic containers in the microwave.
5. If possible, just say ‘no’ to printed store receipts.
According to a study published earlier this month in the Archives of Internal Medicine, statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) may significantly increase the risk of diabetes in postmenopausal women.
These findings verify that patients on statin drugs have a 48 percent increased rate of diabetes, compared to those not on the cholesterol-lowering medication. This study is the second analysis to show that there is a connection between statin use and the development of diabetes.
Data was compiled for 15 years from over 150,000 postmenopausal women who ranged in ages from 50-79 years old. None of these women had diabetes at the start of the study.
Twenty-five percent of Americans over the age of 45 with cardiovascular illness take a statin drug to manage their cholesterol. That’s a 10-fold increase over the last twenty years. Fifty percent of men ages 65 to 74 take statins, as well as 40 percent of women over the age of 75.
What happened to trying to alter one’s diet and lifestyle to prevent cardiovascular disease? Is taking a pharmaceutical drug that may cause a serious illness like diabetes really worth it? Is cholesterol even a true predictor of heart disease?