A-fib

  1. Fish oil can slash A-fib risk

    Fish oil isn't just the best natural way to fight the ravages of heart disease -- it's also the best way to avoid problems with your ticker in the first place.

    We've known all along that people who eat the most fatty fish have a lower risk of heart disease. And now, researchers say the omega-3 fatty acids found in those fish can also slash the odds of another serious heart problem: atrial fibrillation.

    That's a frightening -- and all-too-common -- condition where your heart loses its rhythm and starts galloping off like a spooked horse. People who have it say it can feel like your heart is getting ready to bounce right out of your chest.

    But now, researchers say their study of more than 3,300 seniors who were tracked for 14 years found that those with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids -- especially DHA -- were 30 percent less likely to come down with the condition.

    This isn't the first study of its kind -- others have also found that omega-3 fatty acids can slash the risk of A-fib, including an 18-year study out of Finland that found high levels cut that risk by 35 percent.

    When you consider how many patients are fighting this disease, that's a big deal.

    Close to 10 percent of seniors eventually develop atrial fibrillation -- and because the condition comes with a higher risk of stroke and heart failure, it's often treated with the same risky blood-thinning meds given to heart patients.

    There's even one new blood thinner supposedly aimed just at A-fib patients -- and that one could be even more dangerous than those other bad meds.

    If fish oil can help you avoid the disease in the first place, I say load up now. After all, A-fib isn't the only condition omega-3s can fight or prevent.

    Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help the heart, brain, eyes and even gums. One recent study even links fish oil to a lower risk of colon polyps in women.

    This stuff is so good that even Big Pharma wants in -- so you're starting to see expensive prescription omega-3 blends on the market.

    Save your money -- a quality omega-3 supplement from a trusted vitamin maker is all you and your heart really need.

  2. Heart drug in death risk

    Here's an urgent warning for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who've taken the heart drug Multaq: The FDA says it may double the risk of death in some patients.

    The alert comes out of a recent study cut short earlier this summer by the drug's maker, Sanofi-Aventis -- but the company didn't bother to mention that whopper of a death risk at the time.

    Nope, they only made a vague reference to a "significant increase" in heart problems and said in a press release that "patients currently taking Multaq should not stop their therapy and should consult their treating physician should they have any questions."

    They got it half right: If you've been taking Multaq for the irregular heartbeat and heart rhythm problems marked by A-fib, definitely consult your physician if you have any questions.

    I recommend this question: "How fast can you get me off this med?"

    The aborted trial was on 3,000 patients who suffered from permanent atrial fibrillation -- not the temporary form of A-fib the drug was approved for, and the feds say it's too soon to tell if the risks carry over.

    But I wouldn't stick around to find out if I were you. The FDA also says that in addition to doubling the death rate, the drug doubled the rate of stroke and heart failure hospitalizations when compared to patients on the placebo, according to the study.

    I'm not sure why anyone at the agency is acting surprised over this, though -- after all, it's not the first time the FDA has issued a warning over Multaq.

    It's not the second, third or fourth either.

    It's actually the fifth time, with previous warnings issued over the potential risks of congestive heart failure, another form of heart arrhythmia, bad interactions with the blood thinner warfarin, and even a possible link to liver failure.

    Those are some frightening risks, and if you're suffering from A-fib the last thing you need is that kind of worry -- because stress itself is a serious risk factor for the condition.

    So work with your doctor -- ideally a naturopathic one -- to find your way off this med, and don't forget the completely natural drug-free techniques that have helped so many patients get their A-fib under control.

    Yoga, vitamin C, and simple lifestyle changes like giving up smoking can lead to dramatic improvement, and you can read about some of them right here, for free.

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