high cholesterol

  1. Drug side effects make you feel worse

    Drug side effects make you worse

    If meds are supposed to make you better, why do so many of them leave you feeling as if you're at death's door?

    One reason, of course, is that many of today's most commonly used drugs aren't all they've cracked up to be. They don't work well, and even when they do they can pack enough drug side effects to make you regret taking them.

    A good doctor might even warn you about those risks.

    But there's another reason drugs can make you feel worse that your doctor almost certainly won't warn you about -- because he's not aware of it himself.

    And this is a case where ignorance definitely isn't bliss, because the drugs he prescribes for one disease can actually cause other conditions to get worse.

    Sadly, this isn't rare. It's all too common, with more than 1 in 5 seniors fighting multiple health conditions on a drug that's making one of those conditions worse, according to a new study.

    One common example: the beta blockers given to many patients with heart disease can actually worsen chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by increasing resistance in the airways.

    But that's hardly the only case.

    You name the disease, there's a drug out there that can turn it into a nightmare -- because common meds can worsen arthritis, diabetes, dementia, heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more.

    Odds are, you or someone you know is taking one of these meds, because the new study published in PLoS One finds that 22.6 percent of seniors with multiple ailments are on meds for one disease that are known to make another one worse.

    That means there are two actions you need to take today.

    First, if you're being treated for chronic health problems of your own and find that at least one of seems to be getting worse, speak to your doctor about the possibility that it's your drug side effects.

    Make him do some homework and find other treatment options (and if he won't, see another doctor).

    And second, whether you're facing chronic health problems or just hoping to avoid them, the study shows why it's always better to seek nondrug treatments first -- because many conditions can be eased or corrected with natural remedies that won't cause more problems than they solve.

    That's why I always recommend working closely with an experienced holistic medical doctor.

  2. A long walking distance can be healthier than running

    Don't like running? Try walking!

    Running is one of the best ways to boost your cardiovascular health. It's safe, it's free, and it's available to anyone with a decent pair of sneakers.

    The downside? Not everyone loves running. Some people absolutely hate it -- and if that's you, I've got some great news: You can get all the benefits of running by walking, depending on your walking distance.

    You don't even have to jog.

    All you have to do is pick up the pace a little when you walk.

    Run regularly, for example, and your risk of diabetes will plunge by 12.1 percent.

    That's great, of course -- but a new study finds that if you are walking distance is the same as your distance, you can slash your risk by 12.3 percent.

    When it comes to heart disease, walking can actually take you more than twice as far as running -- slashing your risk by 9.3 percent, compared to 4.5 percent for running.

    A brisk walk can even keep you a step ahead of the other major warning signs of heart disease, lowering the risk of high blood pressure by 7.2 percent and high cholesterol by 7 percent.

    Running, on the other hand, will cut those risks by 4.2 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.

    The key is to make sure you have a good walking distance and pace -- and that means you can't just mill around a little and call it a day. You need to walk for distance to get the benefits, according to the study of 33,000 runners and nearly 16,000 walkers published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

    That means going as far with walking distance as a runner does during a typical sweat session -- which brings me to the only real downside of all that walking: Time.

    Traveling the same walking distance as a run will take two to three times longer -- maybe more, depending on how fast (or slow) you walk. But if you have the time, then be sure to put your feet to the pavement and get moving.

    If you don't, then consider jogging, running, or any other exercise that will get you moving each day -- because your health depends on it.

    But before I go...

    Exercise for body and mind

    Your brain is just like the rest of your body: If you want to keep it fit, you need to give it some exercise.

    That means getting your body moving, because the blood-pumping benefits of physical activity extend to your brain. And of course, it also means staying sharp with intellectual activity.

    If you haven't been busy with either, one new study shows that you can start with just an hour a day, six days a week.

    Devote three of those sessions to a little light activity and three to stimulating your mind, and you could start to see cognitive improvements even if you've already felt yourself slip a little.

    In the study, 126 inactive seniors who had complained of memory and thinking problems were randomly assigned to just that -- three physical and three mental sessions a week, with different levels of difficulty.

    For their physical workouts, some were given intense activities such as aerobics, while others got off easy with light stretching and toning exercises. And for their mental workouts, some were challenged with computer exercises designed to stimulate the mind, while others were asked to watch instructional DVDs on arts, science, and history.

    In the end, it didn't really matter who got what -- because after 12 weeks, everyone enjoyed improvements in global cognitive function.

    Now, I don't think this is license to take the easy way out and always choose the lightest possible workouts (physical and mental). The seniors in the study had been completely inactive before the research began, so it's only natural that even a little bit of activity would lead to some improvements.

    Once you start, however, it's important to keep at it. As you improve physically and mentally, you need to make your workouts a little more challenging. Over time, you won't just look and feel better -- as the new study shows, you'll think better, too.

  3. Statins for flu? Don't believe it!

    It's the cure-all that doesn't really "cure" a thing -- but that hasn't stopped the mainstream from throwing cholesterol-lowering statin drugs at absolutely everything anyway. The latest: A new push to give these meds not to people who suffer from high cholesterol (who don't need the drugs, either), but to people suffering from the flu.
  4. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world

    Crazy is pumping hundreds of millions of people full of dangerous drugs they don't need for conditions that can be controlled safely and naturally. Insane is forcing those same risky meds on even more people -- including millions who don't even have the conditions those drugs are supposed to treat.

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