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More Blood Pressure Medication Recalls Due To Cancer Concerns

You may want an MBA. But you want to avoid NMBA.

NMBA stands for N-Methylnitrosobutyric acid, something that you don’t want in your blood pressure medications. But alas, this probable carcinogen continues to appear in various medications at higher than acceptable levels.

The latest news is that Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited is further expanding its recall of Losartan Potassium Tablets USP and Losartan Potassium/hydrochlorothiazide tablets, USP, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA announcement includes five more lots of these medications. The additional lots add to the lots of blood pressure medications that have been recalled in the past 14 months or so.

In 2018 and 2019, it seems like news about potential cancer-causing contaminants in medications has become as repetitive as the lyrics “My Name Is” in Eminem’s song “My Name Is.” I’ve written about such news for blood pressure medications in November of last year, January of this year, and again March of this year. Then, just last week I covered impurities found in a common heartburn medication, ranitidine. Then, on Thursday, I added an update that Novartis was halting its distribution of ranitidine, the generic form of Zantac, until further testing could be done.

Today In: Innovation

As they say when you soil your pants, one time may be an accident but more than three times is a trend. It is time to take a closer look at how drugs are being manufactured, stored, and distributed and how such processes are being monitored. As I have mentioned before, making medications is not the same as making handbags. You don’t, at least you shouldn’t, eat your handbags. While a poorly-made handbag could lead to social embarrassment, a poorly-made medication can have much greater and even life-threatening implications.

The FDA is the main agency to protect you against fraudulent and contaminated medications. But the FDA currently may not have the funding and the resources to carefully check everything that every drug manufacturer and distributor is doing, especially when some of these operations are rapidly changing or occurring overseas.

For now, if you are taking blood pressure medications, or any medications for that matter, pay attention to FDA warnings and recall news. The FDA maintains a searchable listing of active product warnings and recalls. As a precautionary measure, you may want to search for a medication before starting it. You can also check with your pharmacist to make sure that your medication is not on a recall or warning list. Of course, if you do find that your medication has a warning or is being recalled, don’t just stop taking it. That can be like trying to return a parachute while you are using it. Check with your doctor first to determine your course of action.

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I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), and Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work involves developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.

Source: More Blood Pressure Medication Recalls Due To Cancer Concerns

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Dr. Luke Laffin, staff cardiologist in Preventive Cardiology and Clinical Specialist in Hypertension at Cleveland Clinic answers questions that patients often ask about taking high blood pressure medicines: types of medications, side effects, when to call the doctor, role of self-blood pressure monitoring (including how often), the best time to take blood pressure medications, and if there is a chance that patients can come off medications. He ends the program with three important points for patients with high blood pressure.

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Heart Checks While You Shop: NHS Announces Plan To Have Pharmacies Check Shoppers’ Heart Health In Bid To Cut Deaths

Shoppers will be offered on-the-spot NHS heart checks to detect signs of killer conditions.

High street pharmacies will be overhauled under the national plan to prevent up to 150,000 heart attacks and strokes within a decade.

The country’s most senior doctor said the new approach would be a “game changer,” helping to identify risks far earlier, with advice on lifestyle overhauls as well as targeted medication.

Pilot schemes have seen some types of strokes fall by a quarter.

From October, chemists will begin rolling out the “rapid detection service,” which includes mobile electrocardiograms to spot irregular heartbeats, as well as checks on blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

If successful, the scheme will be rolled out to every pharmacist in the country within three years.

An NHS sign is pictured at St Thomas’ Hospital  Credit: AFP

The plans aim to identify those at risk far earlier, when treatment and lifestyle changes are most likely to be effective.

Pharmacists will be expected to dole out advice on exercise and diet, with results passed directly to GP practices, who can prescribe the right medication.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said: “Heart disease and strokes dramatically cut short lives, and leave thousands of people disabled every year, so rapid detection of killer conditions through high street heart checks will be a game-changer.”

The plans, launched to coincide with the world’s biggest heart conference, follow proposals to scrap “one size fits all” health MOTs at GP surgeries.  In future, GPs will be expected to increasingly target checks on those thought to be at greatest risk, due to their medical and genetic history, while routine screening tests are offered by pharmacists.

Heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer, with deaths from heart attacks, strokes and circulatory diseases accounting for 160,000 deaths in the UK every year.

More than 7 million people are living with heart and circulatory diseases.

Speaking at the European Society for Cardiology (ESC) conference, in Paris, Professor Bryan Williams, author of its guidelines on disease prevention, said: “This is hugely important. Heart disease and stroke remain the most important cause of premature death and disability and we have the means to prevent the many of them.

“The key is early detection of those at risk and doing this is a way that is convenient for the public, not having to wait for a GP appointment that could be done simply the local pharmacy.”

Chemists will begin rolling out the “rapid detection service,” which includes mobile electrocardiograms to spot irregular heartbeats, as well as checks on blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Yesterday Dexter Canoy, clinical epidemiologist from the University of Oxford, presented research showing that raised blood pressure at the age of 40 is a clear indicator of the risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes in later life.

He said: “We need to find ways to target the people who aren’t seeing their GP regularly – the middle-aged men who think they are healthy, but haven’t actually been checked.”

“If opening it up to pharmacies and shopping malls means that people are more likely to have their blood pressure checked, that could make a significant difference,” he said, calling for proper evaluation of the measures.

The checks are part of a new £13 billion five year contract for community pharmacists which aims to expand their roles and offer earlier detection of diseases.

More than 100 pharmacies in Cheshire and Merseyside have begun offering blood pressures screening services, under a local initiative, backed by the British Heart Foundation, with plans to recruit more than 200 more chemists to the service as it expands.

Medics said widespread use of the monitors by pharmacies, hospitals and individual patients could cut costs, speed diagnosis and avoid preventable hospital admissions.

Pilot schemes in Lambeth and Southwark in south London identified more than 1,400 patients suffering from atrial fibrillation – an irregular heart rhythm –  who should have been taking blood thinning drugs, but were not. In total, 1,300 of the patients have now been put on the medication, leading to a 25 per cent reduction in the rate of strokes linked to their heart condition.

Keith Ridge, England’s chief pharmaceutical officer, said: “This new contract makes the most of the clinical skills of local pharmacists and establishes pharmacies across England as local health hubs – open in the evenings and at weekends – where people can go for an ever-increasing range of clinical health checks and treatment.”

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Millions of people in England are living with conditions such as high blood pressure which, if left untreated, significantly increase the risk of having a potentially deadly heart attack or stroke. Reaching more people and encouraging them to check their blood pressure, working with them to lower it where necessary, will play an absolutely critical role in saving lives in the coming years.”

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Source: Heart checks while you shop: NHS announces plan to have pharmacies check shoppers’ heart health in bid to cut deaths

Blood Pressure Medication Recall: What Is In This That May Cause Cancer – Bruce Y. Lee

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Do you have an idea of what is in these blood pressure medications? Take away the “I” from an idea and you’ve got a NDEA. That’s the chemical that seems to have contaminated certain lots of a type of blood pressure medication. NDEA is short for N-nitrosodiethylamine. PubChem describes NDEA as a “synthetic light-sensitive, volatile, clear yellow oil that is soluble in water, lipids, and other organic solvents,” which is “used as gasoline and lubricant additive, antioxidant, and stabilizer for industry materials.”The description also mentions NDEA emitting “toxic fumes” when heated to a high enough temperature and being used in the lab to cause liver tumors for experiments……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2018/11/02/blood-pressure-medication-recall-what-is-in-them-that-may-cause-cancer/#5a8c7831211e

 

 

 

 

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Stress Hormone” Cortisol Linked to Early Toll on Thinking Ability – Karen Weintraub

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The stresses of everyday life may start taking a toll on the brain in relatively early middle age, new research shows. The study of more than 2,000 people, most of them in their 40s, found those with the highest levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol performed worse on tests of memory, organization, visual perception and attention. Higher cortisol levels, measured in subjects’ blood, were also found to be associated with physical changes in the brain that are often seen as precursors to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to the study published Wednesday in Neurology………

Read more: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ldquo-stress-hormone-rdquo-cortisol-linked-to-early-toll-on-thinking-ability/

 

 

 

 

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Only a Glass of This Juice will Remove Clogged Arteries And Control Blood Pressure – Health Maestro

Only a Glass of This Juice will Remove Clogged Arteries, heart blockage, remove plaque And control blood pressure. Our Other Heart Remedies you can watch: A Quick Recipe for Blocked Arteries in Heart and Reduce Cholesterol / Control Blood Pressure : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGwFY…

Just 3 Ingredients Will Unclog Your Arteries Without Medication and Reduce Cholesterol Fast: https://youtu.be/9px6QQnaHzQ

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Why Sitting May Be Bad for Your Brain – Gretchen Reynolds

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Sitting for hours without moving can slow the flow of blood to our brains, according to a cautionary new study of office workers, a finding that could have implications for long-term brain health. But getting up and strolling for just two minutes every half-hour seems to stave off this decline in brain blood flow and may even increase it.

Delivering blood to our brains is one of those automatic internal processes that most of us seldom consider, although it is essential for life and cognition. Brain cells need the oxygen and nutrients that blood contains, and several large arteries constantly shuttle blood up to our skulls.

Because this flow is so necessary, the brain tightly regulates it, tracking a variety of physiological signals, including the levels of carbon dioxide in our blood, to keep the flow rate within a very narrow range.

But small fluctuations do occur, both sudden and lingering, and may have repercussions. Past studies in people and animals indicate that slight, short-term drops in brain blood flow can temporarily cloud thinking and memory, while longer-term declines are linked to higher risks for some neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia.

Other research has shown that uninterrupted sitting dampens blood flow to various parts of the body. Most of those studies looked at the legs, which are affected the most by our postures, upright or not. Stay seated for several hours, and blood flow within the many blood vessels of the legs can slacken.

Whether a similar decline might occur in the arteries carrying blood to our brains was not known, however.

So for the new study, which was published in June in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers at Liverpool John Moores University in England gathered 15 healthy, adult, male and female office workers.

The scientists wanted to recruit people who habitually spent time at a desk since, for them, long hours of sitting would be normal.

The researchers asked these men and women to visit the university’s performance lab on three separate occasions. During each, they were fitted with specialized headbands containing ultrasound probes that would track blood flow through their middle cerebral arteries, one of the main vessels supplying blood to the brain.

They also breathed briefly into masks that measured their carbon dioxide levels at the start of the session, so that scientists could see whether levels of that gas might be driving changes in brain blood flow. Blood carbon dioxide levels can be altered by changes in breathing, among many other factors

Then the men and women spent four hours simulating office time, sitting at a desk and reading or working at a computer.

During one of these sessions, they never rose unless they had to visit the bathroom, which was close by.

During another visit, they were directed to get up every 30 minutes and move onto a treadmill set up next to their desks. They then walked for two minutes at whatever pace felt comfortable, with an average, leisurely speed of about two miles an hour.

In a final session, they left their chairs only after two hours, but then walked on the treadmills for eight minutes at the same gentle pace.

Scientists tracked the blood flow to their brains just before and during each walking break, as well as immediately after the four hours were over. They also rechecked people’s carbon dioxide levels during those times.

As they had expected, brain blood flow dropped when people sat for four continuous hours. The decline was small but noticeable by the end of the session.

It was equally apparent when people broke up their sitting after two hours, although blood flow rose during the actual walking break. It soon sank again, the ultrasound probes showed, and was lower at the end of that session than at its start.

But brain blood flow rose slightly when the four hours included frequent, two-minute walking breaks, the scientists found.

Interestingly, none of these changes in brain blood flow were dictated by alterations in breathing and carbon dioxide levels, the scientists also determined. Carbon dioxide levels had remained steady before and after each session.

So something else about sitting and moving was affecting the movement of blood to the brain.

Of course, this study was small and short-term and did not look into whether the small declines in blood flow to people’s brains while they sat impaired their ability to think.

It also was not designed to tell us whether any impacts on the brain from hours of sitting could accumulate over time or if they are transitory and wiped away once we finally do get up from our desks for the day.

But the results do provide one more reason to avoid sitting for long, uninterrupted stretches of time, says Sophie Carter, a doctoral student at Liverpool John Moores University, who led the study.

They also offer the helpful information that breaks can be short but should be recurrent.

“Only the frequent two-minute walking breaks had an overall effect of preventing a decline in brain blood flow,” she says.

So consider setting your computer or phone to beep at you every half-hour and get up then, she suggests. Stroll down the hall, take the stairs to visit a restroom a floor above or below your own, or complete a few easy laps around your office.

Your brain just might thank you years from now, when you’re no longer tied to that office chair.

 

 

 

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FDA Expands Recall Of Blood Pressure Drug Valsartan Due To Cancer Concern — CBS Atlanta

Valsartan recall: 4 things patients should know By Jacqueline Howard, CNN (CNN) — Several common drugs that contain valsartan, used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, have been recalled in the United States due to an “impurity” in the drug that poses a potential cancer risk. That impurity, N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA, is classified…

via FDA Expands Recall Of Blood Pressure Drug Valsartan Due To Cancer Concern — CBS Atlanta

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Should Healthy People Take Probiotic Supplements – Koldunov Alexey

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A visit to the supermarket these days can feel more like walking through a pharmacy, with an ever-expanding range of milks, yoghurts, pills, powders and speciality foods promoting their “probiotic” prowess.

Advocates of probiotics have hailed them as the answer to all sorts of health issues and conditions. But what exactly are probiotics? And, more importantly, should you be taking them?

Probiotics are scientifically defined as “live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. In simple terms, they’re “good” bacteria that are beneficial to the body.

Probiotics exist naturally in some foods (such as some types of yoghurt and fermented vegetables such as pickles and sauerkraut), but can also be taken in dietary supplement form, via products such as Yakult and Inner Health Plus.

While our digestive system ordinarily contains trillions of microbes, including both “good” and “bad” bacteria, sometimes the balance between these can get out of whack. Diseases, poor lifestyle behaviours (such as not eating enough fruit and vegetables, heavy drinking, smoking, and physical inactivity) and ageing can all disrupt this balance.

By many accounts, probiotics can improve the number and diversity of “good” gut bacteria that help to keep our digestive system healthy and working efficiently. As such, probiotics have been proposed to:

However, most scientific research on the health benefits of probiotic supplementation seems to have been done in people with existing health problems. Evidence supporting the health benefits of probiotics in healthy adults is very limited. Probiotic supplements are most likely to be consumed by the general (and otherwise healthy) population, despite this group receiving relatively little documented benefit.

We reviewed the scientific literature (45 original studies) on probiotic supplementation in healthy adults. Our findings, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that giving healthy adults live bacteria (either in yoghurt, capsules, or drinks) can have a few benefits:

1) it can increase the concentration of “good” bacteria. So, if an imbalance of digestive system bacteria does occur in healthy adults (due to poor lifestyle, the use of antibiotics, or ageing), probiotic supplementation may help restore the balance

2) it can reduce abdominal discomfort caused by irregular bowel movements and constipation

3) it can increase the population of “good” bacteria in and around the vagina. From the four studies conducted in this area, all four demonstrate improvements in vaginal lactobacilli after probiotic capsules or suppositories were used. This may help prevent urinary tract infection and bacterial vaginosis

4) there is some evidence that it can boost the immune system, and help reduce the incidence, duration and severity of the common cold. While the exact mechanism for this is not clear, probiotics might influence immune responses by stimulating production and improving activity of cells that fight respiratory infections. But only three studies have shown these benefits in healthy adults.

While this sounds like great news for probiotics, let’s not get carried away. Our review also found the changes appear to be short-lived. In other words, you need to keep taking the probiotic supplements for the effects to last. If you stop taking them, your gut bacteria are likely return to their pre-supplementation condition within one to three weeks.

You may be able to get longer-lasting changes by “feeding the healthy bacteria”. Like all living organisms, bacteria need food to survive. Foods that are high in dietary fibre, such as fruit and vegetables, can be used as energy sources (or so called “prebiotics”) for these bacteria.

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We also found little evidence that probiotic supplements can reduce cholesterol in healthy adults. And there is little evidence to show that probiotics can improve glucose (blood sugar) and insulin responses in healthy adults. Taking probiotics won’t reduce heart disease risk, or prevent you from developing type 2 diabetes.

So if you have a poor diet (you eat too much take-away food and not enough fruit, vegetables and whole-grain products, or you drink alcohol too much and too often) and don’t exercise regularly, your digestive bacteria may benefit from probiotic supplements, though you’ll have to keep taking them to get lasting effects.

But if you are otherwise healthy, probiotic supplements are likely to be a waste of money. Here’s some simple advice: take what you spend on probiotic supplements, and use it to buy and eat more fruit and vegetables.

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Unfit in Middle Age & You Doomed – Alex Therrien

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Are you someone in middle age who keeps putting off that planned health kick for another day?

If so, a couple of new studies may give you a sense of urgency.

One paper found that elevated blood pressure in middle age increases the risk of dementia, while another says being frail at this time raises your chances of an early death.

So how bad is a lack of fitness in mid-life and is it condemning you to bad health in the future?

What’s the dementia risk?

A study published in the European Heart Journal found those who were aged 50 with a systolic blood pressure of 130mmHg or above were nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to develop dementia than those with ideal blood pressure.

It’s noteworthy that this is below the level of blood pressure considered to be high in the UK (140mmHg).

Researchers suggested a possible explanation for the link was that raised blood pressure could cause damage from “silent” or mini-strokes which can easily go un-noticed.

It’s worth pointing out that the study of 8,639 people shows a link between elevated blood pressure at 50 and dementia but cannot prove cause and effect.

Researchers found no such association for people who were aged 60 or 70.

And any increase in risk needs to be seen in the context of your overall likelihood of getting dementia at some point in your life.

It is estimated that the risk of getting Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is one in 10 for men and one in five for women from the age of 45.

Nevertheless, Alzheimer’s Research UK said it added to the evidence of a link between high blood pressure and dementia.

What about frailty?

Frailty is known to be a health risk to people in later life because, among other things, it increases the likelihood of falls.

But a new paper, which examined data from 493,737 people involved in the UK Biobank study, found that being frail earlier in life also appeared to be a predictor of ill health and early death.

The study, published in the Lancet Public Health journal, defined frailty as anyone who had at least three of the following health problems:

  • Weight loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Weak grip strength
  • Low physical activity
  • Slow walking pace

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After accounting for other factors (including socio-economic status, a number of long-term conditions, smoking, alcohol and BMI), researchers found men between the ages of 37 and 45 were over two-and-a-half times more likely to die than non-frail people of the same age.

The figures were similar in all the other age groups (45-55, 55-65, and 65-73).

Similar associations were found in women who were judged to be frail and were 45 or older.

Frail people were also far more likely to have conditions such as multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Lead author of the study, Prof Frances Mair, from the University of Glasgow, said the findings suggested there was a need to both identify and treat frailty much earlier in life.

So what can we do?

Dr Peter Hanlon, a co-author on the frailty study, said the good news is that frailty might be reversible in people, particularly if it is identified early.

The key for those who are unfit in middle age is making healthy changes “as soon as possible”, says Ilaria Bellantuono, professor of musculoskeletal ageing at the University of Sheffield.

“The key is a healthy diet and exercise. It’s the only thing we know that works,” she says.

Losing weight, stopping smoking, cutting back on alcohol, exercising regularly and eating less salt are just some of the things you can do to lower your blood pressure.

And similar advice applies to reducing your risk of dementia and helping to keep your brain healthy as you age, says Dr Laura Phipps from Alzheimer’s Research UK.

But the million pound question is how do you get people to change their habits?

Prof Bellantuono said that for some, health warnings won’t be enough.

Instead, finding an “internal motive that speaks to them” will be key to getting some people to exercise and be healthier.

“That could be picking up the grandchildren or going to watch the football,” she adds.

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