Tag Archives: how to be healthy

Common Pain Killers Increase Stroke Risk

Medicine Drug Pills on Plate

The news on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs just keeps getting worse and worse.  Just a month ago I posted about how this class of drugs was associated with an increased risk of heart problems.  Now a Danish study has found that these drugs are associated with an increased risk of stroke.

This class of drugs known as NSAIDs are used mainly as pain killers.  They are also used to effectively reduce fevers.  They are available over the counter and are used by millions upon millions of Americans every day.  This new

study finds that even short-term use of these drugs leads to an increased risk of having a stroke in the future.  What’s even scarier is that they studied a healthy population.

In many instances these types of studies are done on people with already existing conditions that make it difficult to assess whether the increased risk is associated with a person’s previously existing condition or the medication.  Not this time.

Over 500,000 healthy Danish people were included in this study.  The authors used a prescription registry to track which of these people were prescribed an NSAID.  About 45% of them took an NSAID from 1997-2005.  They then used stroke data from further hospitalization and death registries and estimated the risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke associated with the use of NSAIDs.

Results showed that NSAID use was associated with an increased risk of stroke. This increased risk ranged from about 30% with ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) to 86% with diclofenac (Voltaren). The data were controlled for age, gender, and socioeconomic status.

They noted that there was a dose dependent relationship as well.  With doses over 200mg of ibuprofen the risk increased by a staggering 90%!  This is quite problematic as the base dose for over the counter ibuprofen is 200mg.  Millions of Americans take much more than that on a daily basis.

The authors of the study were not terribly surprised by the data considering the recent studies that have surfaced regarding the negative effects these medications seem to have on the cardiovascular system.  They did say it is hard to make absolute conclusions because no randomized controlled studies exist to date.  In light of this most recent evidence I doubt you will ever get an institutional review board to approve such a study because the risk seems to be too high.

The author also stated that in Denmark the availability of NSAIDs over the counter is relatively low compared to the United States. He stressed the need for closer monitoring of these drugs.

He also said, “If half the population takes these drugs, even on an occasional basis, then this could be responsible for a 50% to 100% increase in stroke risk. It is an enormous effect.”

In my opinion, we need to regulate these drugs as closely as possible.  If one were to watch the evening news you would see these drugs being advertised as health food practically.  It is studies like these that make it abundantly clear  they are not without risk.

Options abound for people who take these on a regular basis for mild to moderate pain.  Exercise and diet are a great start.  Reducing the use of NSAIDs would likely have a very positive effect on the cost of health care in the U.S. We need all the help we can get in that department.

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6 Things For Your Journey To COMPLETE Health

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

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Being healthy is a journey.  You never arrive at ‘completely healthy.’  There are always going to be things that can be improved and worked on.  This requires a whole body approach.  This approach includes being physically active, watching your diet and supplementing it with the necessary nutrients.  I discuss that side of being healthy a lot.  Today I want to talk about the other thing you must do to be healthy – nourish the soul.  There are many things that can be done to nourish the soul, but today I’ll list a few to get you started.

Laugh

Laughter truly is the best medicine.  Laughing is an activity that everyone likes to do, but not everyone takes the time to do it.  Laughing reduces stress, improves mood and reduces circulating stress hormones that can potentially have negative effects on our health.  Take the time everyday to laugh.  It might be watching your favorite TV show or reading your favorite cartoon in the newspaper.  Whatever it is, take time to do it every single day.

Go on a Hike

This is a great way to get outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.  Up here in the Northeast, the foliage is out and looking spectacular.  Something about being outside on the top of a mountain is a great stress reliever and allows us to connect with nature.  It’s also great exercise!

Go Pumpkin Picking

This is a great activity, especially if you have small children.  And it’s a great time of year for it.  The pumpkins are out and need to be picked!  It’s a great way to enjoy some quality time with your family away from the house (and the TV!).

Go Apple Picking

Similarly to the above, apple picking is a wonderful outdoor activity that gets us out of the house.  Apples are ripe this time of year and most apple orchards will let you go picking for a small fee.  The best part is you get to keep the apples and eat them later.  It’s great for the soul and an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Treat Yourself

Take yourself out for dinner (a healthy one of course!).  Buy yourself that new gadget you’ve held off on purchasing or get your nails done.  There are a million things you could do for yourself and sometimes those things just feel good.  Often times we put ourselves last and it’s helpful to move you up to the front of the line from time to time.

Meditate

Meditating, doing yoga or your variation of a spiritual pastime is a great way to reduce stress and slow down to enjoy the moment.  It allows you to just be…and nothing else.  It also allows the busy Mom or Dad to take time for themselves.  It doesn’t have to be long – just 10 minutes is sometimes enough to re-center your focus and get you through the day.

There are many more things that you can do, but the list above should help you get started.  Remember to be truly healthy you must have a healthy mind, body and spirit.

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