1. Pradaxa quickly climbs the list of dangerous drugs

    Lawsuits mount over new blood thinner

    New and improved? When it comes to blood thinners, they got the "new" part right... but they're definitely not improved.

    Pradaxa, first in a new generation of blood thinners, was supposed to be safer than warfarin -- a blood thinner so dangerous it's been used as rat poison over the years.

    As you can imagine, patients couldn't wait to get off warfarin -- so Pradaxa sales quickly shot past the $1 billion mark, making it the newest blockbuster drug. And now, it looks like it might be on the wrong end of the next blockbuster lawsuit, too -- because Pradaxa has been linked to thousands of serious problems, including bleeding problems, and hundreds of deaths.

    Last year, Pradaxa was responsible for more reports of adverse events than any other drug -- including 542 deaths, 2,367 cases of hemorrhaging, 644 strokes, and 291 cases of acute renal failure.

    If that's not enough, it was also a suspect in 15 cases of liver failure, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

    That's quite a long list of problems for a drug that's barely been on the market for two years -- and since up to 99 percent of all drug side effects go unreported, the real numbers could be much higher.

    As a result, there are attorneys ready to make a career off this. According to USA Today, one major firm has 70 lawyers devoted to Pradaxa litigation

    It's tough to choose between rat poison and becoming the next potential client in a lawsuit, which is why it's important to know about preventative approaches that can thin the blood naturally.

    And it starts with learning why your blood has thickened in the first place.

    In many cases, I've found that thick blood is the result of excess levels of a protein called fibrinogen. One way to reduce those levels is with fish oil, as the omega-3 fatty acids can help thin the blood. The enzyme nattokinase is another excellent natural blood thinner.

    Don't fly solo on this one, and don't start swapping fish oil for meds on your own as there are certain conditions that require medication to thin the blood.

    Work with a holistic doctor who can run some tests to help determine why your blood thickened and then help you figure out the best -- and, just as importantly, safest -- natural solutions.

  2. Shift work can harm the heart

    Night work is bad for the heart

    Only vampires function better at night. The rest of us simply can't keep up -- and anyone who works the night shift regularly will tell you the toll it takes on the body.

    As a doctor, I've been there myself -- and I've felt the changes in my own body.

    That's why shift work in general and night shifts in particular have been linked to any number of health risks time and again. And now, a major study finds that it can take an especially steep toll on the heart.

    Overall, people who work at night have a 41 percent higher risk of serious vascular events such as heart attack or stroke than people who work normal hours, according to the study in BMJ.

    But even if you don't work at night, you might not be in the clear -- because any form of irregular hours, including rotating shifts, evening shifts, irregular hours and mixed shifts, increases those same risks by nearly a quarter.

    It's not just because working the night often leads to unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as fast food and vending machines. Those certainly play a role, but the researchers behind the new study adjusted for those tendencies and still found that increased risk.

    That means the real reason is in the body itself.

    The human body was not designed to function at night and sleep in the day. It's designed to use the sun and darkness as cues for the production and release of certain hormones.

    That's why shift work throws the body off rhythm -- and when your hormone production loses its rhythm, your body gets the blues.

    Along with the heart problems revealed by the new study, night shifts and shift work have also been linked to obesity, diabetes, ulcers, mood disorders, and memory problems, just to name a few of the risks. And it's been linked to cancer so often that the World Health Organization even labels shift work as a "probable carcinogen."

    There's no easy answer here. Obviously, work days if you can -- but I realize that's not always a choice. If you're working nights and have no other option, be sure to take extra care of your body.

    And never stop trying to get that day job… unless you really ARE a vampire.

  3. Light exercise can improve stroke & heart attack recovery

    Exercise is important for everyone -- but new studies show how even light exercise and stretching can be essential to stroke and heart attack survivors.
  4. New attacks on chiropractic care

    In the latest attack on chiropractic, researchers claim a neck adjustment can lead to a stroke -- but the risk is incredibly low. Find out what you need to know.
  5. Brushing your teeth can keep cancer away

    A clean mouth can keep the rest of your body healthy -- and filthy one can ruin it. Now, a new study shows how poor oral hygiene can lead to cancer.
  6. Low magnesium levels can boost your heart risk

    Low levels of the essential mineral magnesium can double your risk of death by heart disease -- and you probably have low levels.
  7. Flavonoid rutin can prevent blood clots

    Rutin, a common flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, can help prevent the blood clots that can lead to heart attacks or stroke.
  8. Actos risks highlighted in lawsuit over diabetes drug

    A new lawsuit accuses the makers of Actos of hiding data on the diabetes drug's heart and cancer risks, giving diabetics a new reason to turn to natural help.
  9. A wake-up call for bad sleep habits

    Judging by myself and my patients -- not to mention the bags under the eyes of many of the people I meet each day -- I'd say the biggest problem when it comes to sleep is that we don't get nearly enough of it.
  10. Diet soda in new health scare

    Let's face it: There's nothing "diet" about diet soda. It won't make you healthier and it won't even help you to lose weight -- and that's been proven.
  11. Speed and strength now can predict health risks later

    You probably don't spend much time at all thinking about how fast you walk or how strong your grip is. But maybe you should -- because a new study shows how these basic tests could help predict serious health problems years down the road.
  12. Hidden risks of heart scans

    Diagnostic heart scans such as CT angiograms can lead to cancer, kidney damage, false positives and overtreatment -- and they don't even improve outcomes in healthy patients.
  13. Get some sun to slash your stroke risk

    I can think of about a million reasons to get outside and bask in the sunlight every day -- but if you're looking for one of your own, how about this: It can slash your risk of a stroke.
  14. A stroke while you sleep

    The only thing scarier than a stroke is having one and not even knowing it. It's the so-called "silent" stroke -- given the name because it comes and goes with no symptoms.
  15. An up-close look at apnea

    If just the thought of losing your breath as you sleep is frightening, you should see what it looks like when it really happens.
  16. New blood thinner boosts heart risk

    Blood thinners are supposed to reduce the risk of the blood clots that can lead to a heart attack or stroke -- but a new drug that's intended to slash the risk of stroke can actually increase the odds of a heart attack.
  17. New push to drug people with normal BP levels

    "Prehypertension" is a name that sounds like it was invented to scare patients -- and it's definitely succeeded. No one wants to be "pre" any disease -- so while the guidelines don't call for treating prehypertension with meds, many docs do so anyway... and their scared patients play right along.
  18. Choline on your mind

    Some nutrients, like vitamin D, always seem to be making headlines -- while others, you just never hear about. Take choline, for example.
  19. BP guidelines could be deadly

    Docs get so hung up on matching the numbers on patients' charts to mainstream guidelines that they often forget these things are written on paper -- not set in stone. But in addition to being meaningless, many of those targets are actually dangerous -- and quite possibly deadly.
  20. A clean mouth for a healthy heart

    It's no secret that people with clean teeth and healthy gums have a lower risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, and two new studies again confirm the link.

Items 41 to 60 of 78 total