Driving on drugs
Warnings given on over-the-counter and prescription drugs relating to possible driving impairments are being ignored, a new study has claimed. Road safety charity Brake conducted the survey, which discovered that one in eight drivers do not check whether the medication they are taking could affect their driving ability.
The charity is concerned that some road traffic accidents may be caused by people becoming drowsy behind the wheel after taking drugs like Beta Blockers or anti-
The Royal College of GPs is calling on pharmaceutical companies to employ a simple to understand ‘traffic light’ colour coding system to warn drivers over the dangers of various medications.
Professor Steve Field of the Royal College of GPs told the BBC:; “I think the public is unaware of the side effects of these common drugs.”
Oolong Tea and your Heart
It is so different to circumnavigate around the oodles of quackery and sales pitching going on so what I am going to try and do here is achieve a balanced approach on Oolong Tea and it’s benefits to the heart and circulatory system. As within any complimentary addition to your diet there are ups and downs. Anyway here goes for a balanced view.
In China, tea has historically been used as a medicine. Many studies have been carried out up to the present day about the effects of tea. It has been known for some time that tea helps to control obesity and this is common knowledge in China. A Chinese classical pharmaceutical book called the Bencao Shiyi (The Compendium of Materia Medica) states, “Drinking tea for a long time will make one live long to stay in good shape without becoming too fat and too heavy.”
In modern medical science, obesity does not simply mean being overweight. Obesity is defined as an “excess accumulation of fat in the human body,” indicating that “the amount of fat within the body has increased beyond its normal range.” As shown in the chart, the normal range of fat against weight is 15-20% for a man and 20-25% for a woman. A man will be diagnosed as being obese if he has a fat-to-weight ratio of 25% or more, and for a woman, if she has a ratio of 30% or more.
Why does obesity occur? Among other food items taken into your body through meals every day, sugar and fat are synthesized into triglyceride in the liver and the small intestine, which are then carried in the bloodstream into various other tissues in the body. More triglyceride than any other kind of fat is contained in the human body and it is used as a source of energy for life support and physical activities. Excess amounts of triglyceride will be deposited within fat cells. This is the mechanism of fat metabolism in which an excess accumulation of triglyceride in the body causes obesity.
Polyphenol in oolong tea is effective in controlling obesity. It activates the enzyme that is responsible for dissolving triglyceride.
Oolong tea is good for the heart in several ways according to an American study carried out in 2007 which found out that it reduces blood concentrations of triglycerides in rats by a whopping 80% compared to rats on normal diet.
A 2004 Japanese study conducted by Osaka City University found that oolong tea increases plasma adiponectin levels. Low levels of plasma adiponectin are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease (CAD). The study concluded that oolong tea may have beneficial effects on the progression of atherosclerosis in patients with CAD.
If you have a look at the accessible medical studies of repute they suggest Oolong tea does promote weight loss by increasing metabolism, burning fat and blocking dietary fat absorption. Please note the word promote not the word solution.
Ok for the side effects
Oolong Tea is a healthy beverage. But like any other tea, it does have some side effects.
The best way to avoid oolong tea side effects is to buy from a vendor who knows their teas inside out and also sells high grade tea. Their teas are more likely to have come from a high quality tea garden in the mountains, rather than from some low grade, contaminated sources. Avoid the shiny diet oolong tea sellers who are more interested in selling you the hype than demonstrating an in-depth understanding of their teas.
Tea can interfere and interact with certain medications. As a safety precaution, avoid drinking tea for at least 2 hours after taking medications. If you are on prescribed drugs please discuss drinking Oolong Tea with your Doctor or Specialist Nurse before you buy.
Vitamin D and Heart Failure
An interesting topic that was debated at the European Cardiology Society’s Annual Event in Stockholm was how important Vitamin D was to Heart Failure Patients. As a point I currently take high dose Vitamin D.
As always be aware that this information was a study that was presented at the medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone validation process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.
Low vitamin D levels are associated with a higher risk of death and hospitalisation in people with heart failure, researchers have reported.
The study doesn’t prove that low vitamin D levels place patients at higher risk of dying. Even if the findings are confirmed, low levels of vitamin D may be a marker for some other damaging factor.
The hope is that vitamin D supplements may be able to improve outcomes among people with heart failure, but this still needs to be put to the test.
Vitamin D is best known for helping the body absorb calcium, which restores and strengthens bone, protecting against fracture. But more and more studies suggest that low vitamin D levels are associated with the risk for a host of diseases, including certain cancers and kidney disease.
After several small studies linked low levels of vitamin D to poor outcomes in people with heart failure, Dutch researchers, led by Licette Liu, BSc, of the University Medical Center in Groningen, Netherlands, decided to start a larger study of 548 patients hospitalized with this condition.
Patients were divided into three groups depending on their blood levels of vitamin D: low (below 29.6 nanomoles per liter), intermediate (29.6 to 43.9 nanomoles per liter), and high (above 43.9 nanomoles per liter).
Over the 18 months of follow-up, 165 patients died and 142 were hospitalized again. Those patients with the lowest vitamin D levels were 30% more likely to be hospitalized again or die than people with the highest levels. The effect of vitamin D levels held even after accounting for other factors.
The findings were presented at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology.
No one knows exactly why vitamin D may help heart health.
But it may have anti-inflammatory effects that may help keep blood vessels healthy, Liu says.
In the study, low levels of the vitamin were associated with high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation activity.
This study was not designed to show whether supplementing heart failure patients with vitamin D would improve prognosis or even if it was safe to do. Until vitamin D pills are proven to improve outcomes among people with heart failure who have a deficiency, patients should not take supplements unless prescribed by a doctor, says American Heart Association past president Clyde Yancy, MD, medical director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
New Complimentary Fish Oils
I have just received my new fish oils from New Zealand from a company called Xtend-Life. You can visit their website via the link but I have my fingers crossed over their Omega 3 QH Ultra product. This is a very refined fish oil but it has a special added ingredient called Ubiquinol.
I will keep it very brief but my aim is to increase my ejection fraction percentage. These fish oils are part of my strategy for this reason. Ubiquinol is reportedly 6 times the strength of the normal Q10 which you buy and it is absorbed fully through the intestinal wall without degrading. Normal Q10 is Ubiquinone not Ubiquinol.
Ok this is where it gets complicated – and i have taken this from Wilkipedia – ” In terms of its functions, ubiquinol’s primary roles are in the synthesis of mitochondrial energy and as a protective antioxidant. The vitamin-like nutrient is found concentrated in the inner mitochondrial membrane where it serves as a carrier of reducing equivalents in the mitochondrial electron transport chain’s I and II complexes. In this process, ubiquinol serves to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main energy intermediate in living organisms.”
In other words it is vital to cell growth and that includes heart cells.
I will update you as and when I have any further information on the fish oils mentioned.
Interesting developments on Ivabradine
This article talks about Ivabradine which slows the heart beat down without effecting the blood pressure which is great news for people who cant take beta blockers.
The drug, ivabradine, is already available in the UK to treat angina.
The trial involved more than 6,500 people in 37 countries who already used standard treatments such as beta-blocker drugs.
Over a typical study period of two years, ivabradine cut the risk of death from heart failure by 26%.
It had a similar impact on the likelihood of patients being admitted to hospital.
“It is vital that the results of this study are implemented and ivabradine is used as part of standard heart failure treatment as soon as possible” said Professor Martin Cowie at the European Society of Cardiology annual event in Stockholm.
More than 700,000 people over the age of 45 are thought to live with heart failure, which occurs when damage to the heart leaves it too weak to pump blood efficiently round the body.
Heart failure uses up 1% to 2% of the total NHS budget and direct medical costs alone amounting to £625m each year.
Unlike other treatments, such as beta-blockers, ivabradine lowers the number of heartbeats per minute without also reducing blood pressure.
Prof Cowie, a consultant cardiologist at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital, said estimates that 10,000 deaths could be prevented in the UK by prescribing the drug to eligible patients were conservative.
He told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that in the UK one in four people could develop heart failure in some point in their lives and so this drug could help thousands.
The drug worked by slowing the pulse down so that it helped to take some of the strain off the heart, he said.
“For people who have heart failure, their heart is always going too fast. Even when they are sitting doing nothing, their heart rate might be going along at 80 or 90 beats per minute and this drug helps slow that down,” he added.
“In the past we have been able to do that with drugs called beta blockers… but many patients can’t take beta blockers because they have asthma or it drops their blood pressure.
“This drug has the advantage that it can be added to beta blockers or it can be given to people who can’t take them.
“It slows the pulse rate without dropping the blood pressure or affecting any asthma so it’s a very exciting new option for doctors and patients to think about if they have heart failure.”
He stressed the drug was not suitable for everybody, but only those who already had a serious heart condition.
Earlier, he said: “The evidence represents a significant clinical breakthrough in the management of heart failure and is incredibly important information for patients with this condition.”
“It is vital that the results of this study are implemented and ivabradine is used as part of standard heart failure treatment as soon as possible.”
Although ivabradine is already available in the UK for angina – the pain caused by insufficient blood reaching the heart – it is only prescribed to about 10% of patients with the condition.
The dissapointing point is that it will take 2-3 years for NICE to approve it for Heart Failure even though it is being used for agina currently.
Heart Health and Colostrum
As promised I would keep you up to date with my colostrum intake and its effects. Today I have just come off the three teaspoon sizes per day dose which was designed to get the colostrum goodness into my system. I am now on a maintenance dose which is about 3 x quarter teaspoon full.
Effects so far –
Instantly allowed me to get off Ranitidine – this is basically zantac a stomach acid depressant.
Apart from this I have not felt anything radically different but I have only been on it for 2 weeks and evidently it takes 8 weeks to start to take effect. The only feeling I have is a sense of more energy but this could be psychological?
We will have to wait and see. Keep following Pumping Marvellous for further updates.
Excellent Heart Failure Video
If you have an hour to burn and you want to learn about heart failure and all it’s different guises then go and get yourself a cup of coffee, sit on a comfy sofa and absorb yourself in this video.
A note of warning it does say it how it is and doesn’t gloss over anything. However what you get is an honest view point. It is also very “medically vocab” driven therefore you may need to take a couple of double takes, I did anyway.
Here it is -
Chocolate may boost heart health
Does this mean that you can have a bar of galaxy every night – I think not!
Reducing heart failure in older women may be aided by eating an occasional chocolate treat, according to research.
The study found that one or two servings of good-quality chocolate every week lowered middle-aged and elderly women’s risk of developing the condition by almost a third.
Scientists examined the association between chocolate and heart failure in almost 32,000 Swedish women aged between 48 and 83.
Moderate chocolate consumption significantly lowered heart failure risk, although as more or less was eaten, the protective effect was reduced.
Servings of 19 to 30 g eaten once or twice a week led to a 32% risk reduction – which fell to 26% when one to three servings a month were eaten, while one serving a day or more showed no benefit.
A typical chocolate bar weighs around 100 g, but the amount of healthy cocoa solids it contains varies greatly.
Dark chocolate can contain as much as 75% cocoa while standard milk chocolate may have 20% or less.
Antioxidant plant compounds called flavonoids in cocoa are believed to protect against heart disease and high blood pressure.
The study’s authors pointed out that chocolate eaten in Sweden tends to have a high cocoa content.
The findings are reported in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
This is an interesting post based around intelligent pills and Heart Failure patients.
A new era of “intelligent medicines” is heralded today with the disclosure that the NHS is about to begin trials of pills that contain a microchip, reminding patients when to take them.
When the pills are swallowed the “edible” microchips react with the acid in the stomach sending a message to a sticking plaster containing a sensor strapped to the shoulder. If the patient has forgotten a dose, the sensor delivers a text message to the patient’s phone reminding them to take their pills.
In addition, the sticking-plaster sensor monitors the patient’s bodily functions such as heart rate and can recommend adjustments to the dose accordingly, which can also be delivered to the patient via text message. The sensor can also send messages via the internet to carers and, if wanted, other family members, updating them on the patient’s condition.
If successful, the system could improve patients’ well-being while reducing costs by avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions.
The technology, developed by the US company Proteus in California, is being tested initially on 40 NHS patients with heart failure at Imperial College Healthcare Trust in London and the Royal Berkshire Trust in Reading. If successful, the four-month trial will be followed by a larger year-long trial starting in 2011 to measure the effect of the system on reducing hospital admissions.
Patients in the NHS trial will be given versions of two standard heart drugs – bisoprolol, a beta blocker that slows the heart beat, and furosemide, a diuretic that reduces fluid in the tissues – with the microchips incorporated in them.
The sticking-plaster sensor will measure heart rate, physical activity and whether the patients remain lying down while sleeping. If they are frequently forced to sit up, that is a sign of increasing fluid on the lungs, a common and potentially serious side effect of heart failure which requires urgent adjustment of the dose.
Research suggests that between a third and a half of patients do not take their medicines as instructed, leading to worse health, more hospital admissions and wasting $290bn (£186bn) a year in the US, according to a report by the New England Healthcare Institute published last year.
Unpleasant side effects, confusion over instructions, forgetfulness, language barriers and feeling “too well” to need medicine are among the reasons cited for non-compliance. People with chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are least likely to stick to the regime prescribed by their doctor.
Nicholas Peters, professor of cardiology at Imperial College and a consultant to Proteus, said: “The whole idea of this technology is to inform patients about their own well-being, to encourage them to take the tablets and to take responsibility for their own health. It can help them stay stable and prevent them getting on to the slippery slope that leads to hospitalisation.”
“People may say, ‘Why do you need technology to detect a missed dose? If I feel ill I can adjust the dose.’ But, in heart failure, once symptoms worsen it is often already too late. There is a narrow window. The patient can become fluid over-loaded and hospitalisation is the inevitable next step.”
The microchip could be placed in almost any medicine. The technology has already been trialled in the US for psychiatric disorders where compliance is a particular problem.
Mobile-phone networks have already developed applications to remind patients to take their medicines, but the Proteus system, called Raisin, takes it a stage further. Networks could offer the application at a discount as an inducement to customers to join.
Dr Jerry Gurwitz, a geriatrician at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and expert on drug errors, said persuading patients to take the drugs they need is a challenging problem, especially among older people who live alone. “I think any person who is practising medicine is going to say it’s one of the biggest challenges and frustrations of providing care to patients right now,” he said.
The Proteus system has received the EU’s consumer and health stamp of approval and the company is expected to seek regulatory approval for widespread use in the EU next year.
Complimentary Supplements and Heart Health
I would never suggest you don’t use your prescribed drugs from your Doctors and Nurses but I am getting very interested in all these complimentary supplements.
Before I had Heart Failure which was caused by a viral attack I was a great exponent of the following supplements –
High Potency Vitamin C
High Potency Vitamin D
Very good quality Fish Oil – High EPA and DHA levels – more expensive than the average but better for you
Plant Stereol supplement
These were taken every morning without fail. Now you may say well you got heart failure so they can’t be that good – well you are wrong. The results of my MRI cardiac scan indicated no signs of heart disease, furred arteries or scaring of the heart. I was just unlucky that a virus, it has been suggested herpes simplex (cold sore) or an influenza style virus attacked my heart.
So as well as my beta blockers, ACE inhibitor, spironolactone, diuretic, digoxin and warfarin I have now started back on the complimentary supplement route.
I now take –
Vitamin C 2000mg per day (1000mg in the morning and 1000mg at approx 6pm)
Vitamin D high potency (1 capsule in the morning)
Fish oil capsule once in the morning (EPA/DHA level is 950mg out of total 1360mg)
I have just bought some 6 hour bovine colostrum which from what I can gather may promote increased density of stem cell production and more, this is a very interesting product. I am just awaiting delivery from the USA.
I am looking to get myself associated with Q10 again, however Q10 is a pro-agulant and this will effect my INR warfarin level. I have researched Q10 for a while now and I came across a site that the kills two birds with one stone. Very good quality fish oil with added Ubiquibnol from Kaneka in Japan. Highly absorbent Q10 with highly refined fish oil as well.
In fact the whole site is excellent and seems to be a quality business. I will buy some and post the results.