kidney failure

  1. Kidney failure linked to poor sleep

    Are you killing your own kidneys?

    There's a lot to do this time of year: dinners to plan, parties to attend, and presents to buy.

    It's easy to end up burning the candle at both ends, waking up earlier and falling asleep later to get everything done.

    By the time the January 1 rolls around, you're not ready to start a new year.

    You're ready to take a long nap!

    I know it's tough to find a little downtime this month... and even tougher to get the rest your body truly needs.

    But make an effort to get it, because poor sleep can leave you with more than red eyes and a cranky attitude.

    It can be absolutely devastating to your kidneys!

    If you're among the 26 million Americans battling kidney disease, lost sleep can cause the organs to wear out faster, sending you on the way to kidney failure and even death YEARS ahead of schedule.

    And it's all because you missed out on some shuteye!

    When you get the rest you need, your body has a chance to rejuvenate. It's as if you have a night crew at work, making repairs and sweeping out bad cells.

    Your kidneys seem to take advantage of this "maintenance time" more than any other part of your body -- because the study finds every extra hour of rest you get per night cuts the risk of kidney failure by 19 percent.

    Miss out, on the other hand, and you not only have a higher risk of kidney failure.

    The study finds you have a higher risk of an early death, too, as folks who reported daytime sleepiness were 10 percent more likely to die during the five-year study.

    If you don't have kidney disease, don't make plans to stay up all night.

    You might not be out of the woods yet, since most folks who have this disease don't know it!

    You could even be one of them. The early symptoms aren't always obvious, especially in older folks, who are often battling a number of other health conditions.

    Kidney problems sometimes get lost in the shuffle -- but don't let it, because even a little drop in kidney function can turn BIG in a hurry.

    Get a little more sleep, and you might be able to avoid the worst of it.

  2. Statins for the masses

    Pfizer is getting ready to take a multibillion-dollar loss this fall when it loses patent protection on the best-selling drug of all time. But don't expect them to sit back and watch Lipitor's $11 billion a year in sales go down the drain. The Wall Street Journal says the company is hatching a plan to have its cholesterol-lowering drug sold over the counter.

    And if they get their way, you can bet it won't just be sold in pharmacies anymore. I'm thinking 7-11, McDonald's, and Dunkin Donuts, for starters, where Lipitor can be billed as the antidote to cholesterol-laden convenience foods.

    That's not nearly as far-fetched as it sounds. Some researchers have already proposed doing exactly that. (Read about it here.)

    But if there's anything as bad for you as a fast food meal on your plate, it's a statin in your body. I don't care what you've been told. These drugs are bad news.

    Along with the notorious risk of muscle weakness and debilitating pain, statins have also been linked to kidney failure, liver damage, cataracts, joint and tendon problems, sexual issues, and even an increased risk of diabetes.

    That's right... a drug that's supposed to keep a supposed risk factor for diabetes in check -- cholesterol -- can actually help bring the disease on.

    Here's a better plan: Skip the fast food and skip the statins. Basic lifestyle changes can do a much better job of keeping cholesterol levels under control anyway.

    The one bit of good news here is that Big Pharma is 0-for-2 when it comes to getting statins approved for over-the-counter sales. Merck's plan for OTC Mevacor was rejected by the feds at least three times, along with Bristol-Myers Squibb's bid for nonprescription Pravachol.

    Normally, I spend a lot of time ripping FDA decisions -- and, let's face it, there's a lot to rip. But in this case, the agency has managed to get it right -- and they've already put Pfizer on notice that the bar for over-the-counter Lipitor has been set pretty high.

    "They would have to provide data to show that consumers understand the treatment and recognize that cholesterol-monitoring is required," FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess told Bloomberg News.

    That's not going to be easy, because Burgess quickly added that previous studies have shown that patients don't get it.

    "Most study participants made mistakes and chose to take the proposed over-the-counter statin when they should not have done that," she was quoted as saying.

    On the other hand, statins such as Zocor are already available over the counter in the U.K. -- so maybe it's only a matter of time before the FDA follows suit.

  3. The dirt on colon cleansing

    Never take medical advice from Hollywood stars...One of the more recent trends in Hollywood's boutique medicine industry involves colon cleansings -- the idea that a very elaborate (and often expensive) chemically enhanced enema can somehow cure all sorts of health issues.
  4. Diabetes 'cures' you don't need

    The mainstream is finally ready to admit you can beat diabetes without meds -- too bad they're still on the wrong track!
  5. Statin side effects worse than thought

    A new study in the British Medical Journal links statins to an alarming number of life-wrecking side effects, confirming the evidence that's been mounting for years: These meds will destroy everything from your muscles to your kidneys.

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