1. Common pain meds increase risk after heart attack

    Don't touch these painkillers after a heart attack

    If you've survived a heart attack, you've already cheated death once -- but don't push your luck.

    You might not get off so easily next time around.

    I always warn my heart patients to stay off common painkillers after a heart attack -- especially ibuprofen and naproxen (aka Advil and Aleve). These drugs can dramatically increase the risk of a second heart attack and even death.

    The problem, of course, is that as people recover they tend to forget all about those warnings -- and a few months later, they start reaching for those painkillers again.

    And that's a huge and potentially deadly mistake.

    Memories may fade, but the risks do not -- and one new study shows they actually don't disappear over time.

    If you ignore my warnings and pop those pills in the first year after your heart attack, for example, your risk of suffering a second one or even dying of heart-related causes could shoot up by 30 percent when compared to someone who doesn't take painkillers.

    Thank that's bad? That's nothing -- because I have a number here that's even worse: Even if you manage to avoid that second heart attack, your risk of dying from any cause at all could be 59 percent higher if you take these meds, according to the new study of 100,000 European heart patients tracked for up to 12 years.

    That's just the first year. Over time, the risks go down -- but they remain consistently higher for people who take painkillers.

    At the five-year mark, heart attack patients who take the meds could have a 41 percent higher risk of a second heart attack or death from heart disease, and a 63 percent higher risk of death than those who don't take painkillers.

    In other words, don't touch those pills -- and really, that's good advice for everyone, not just heart patients. There are much better options for pain than painkillers, including 100 percent natural anti-inflammatory remedies such as MSM.

    Other safe options for pain include acupuncture and cold laser treatments. Speak to a holistic doctor to learn more.

  2. Painkillers up miscarriage risk

    You wouldn't dream of pumping a newborn full of powerful painkillers like ibuprofen -- yet nearly a fifth of all pregnant women take these meds during pregnancy... and it's killing their unborn children.

    Some of the most common painkillers of all -- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen -- can dramatically boost the risk of miscarriage.

    Canadian researchers compared data on 4,705 women who suffered a miscarriage during the first five months of pregnancy to 45,050 women who did not, and found that those who took the painkillers had 2.4 times the risk.

    Putting that into stark real terms, a woman has a 15 percent risk of miscarriage right off the bat -- but if she's been popping these painkillers, that risk shoots up to 35 percent.

    And believe it or not, those numbers might be on the low side: The researchers used prescription drug records, not self-reported use, to figure out who had taken the painkillers.

    That leaves out the scores of women who take over-the-counter drugs -- because in Canada, as in the United States, both ibuprofen and naproxen are widely available.

    Other NSAIDs include rofecoxib, diclofenac and celecoxib -- but don't put too much effort into memorizing those names. Most of the drugs that have become a common part of the household medicine chest aren't nearly as safe as you've been led to believe, and that's especially true during pregnancy.

    On the other hand, you never needed those drugs in the first place -- and pregnancy is a great opportunity to wean yourself off them for good as you explore the safe and effective nondrug alternatives that have helped millions beat pain, even during pregnancy.

    One study a couple years back found that 81 percent of pregnant women who suffered from back pain got at least some relief from acupuncture -- versus 59 percent of women who got a sham treatment.

    The needles don't hurt -- in fact, you'll barely feel them.

    But if acupuncture's not for you, try a good rub: Not only is massage therapy proven to bring pain relief to pregnant women, but it also can have a powerful stimulating effect on the immune system.

    And that's something that can benefit mom and baby alike.

  3. Painkillers linked to penis problems

    Common painkillers may chase the aches away... but they might send something else along for the ride: Your sex life.

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