Heartburn Meds Could Lead to Death

Taking medications or tablets is a routine exercise we follow when we suffer from heart burn. The meds are usually available over the counter without prescription and hence we have almost taken it for granted that as they are available over the counter, they are generally safe. One such med that is popular oversees, not as much in India is the proton pump inhibitor or PPI and here is some bad news involving it.

Heartburn Meds Could Lead to Death

A recent study has proved that people taking proton pump inhibitors have a greater risk of dying compared to the non consumers of the drug. The risk also includes dangerous bacterial infections and kidney disease under its possibility list of PPI consumption. The risk is associated with people taking PPI’s for a longer duration of time. Another heartburn medication that is prescribed by doctors in the USA includes H2b blocker. The comparison study between PPI and H2B blocker consumers revealed a startling result about the risk of dying within the next 5 years being 25% more in PPI consumers than H2 blockers. Also, with people who have been already taking the drug across 2 years, the risk increases upto 50% compared to the H2 blockers.

Though, it is not totally proved and the reasons behind the same are being studied further. Also, the study has covered only whites of the elderly age group and not the youngsters, so whether it affects the youngsters in the similar manner is yet not known.

Experts also stated that many a times doctors do prescribe the medication for a certain period of time only but patients take them up on a regular basis without consult or reassessment. Hence, it is advisable that people who have been prescribed theses medication for a certain duration do their reassessment at periodic intervals. It might just happen that the doctor after monitoring you, simply takes you off the PPI’s.

Well, the crux – it is advisable to avoid taking PPI medications for a longer duration of time and particularly not decide on continuing the medication or using it without prescription on your own. Doctor consult is a must before you continue taking medications like PPI.

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The Early You Quit Smoking The Better For Your Lungs

All of us are quite aware of the ill effects of Cigarette smoking to our health. Here is some information that you may consider as a bit of good news particularly if you’ve started smoking recently.

Experts say that if a smoker quits smoking, his/ her lungs do heal to a certain extent.


Well, as per the experts when you inhale the smoke of a cigar or cigarette, it causes inflammation and irritation of the lung’s delicate lining. Our lungs are lined with tiny hairs called cilia. After smoking, even upto several hours the brush like movement of cilia is slowed down because smoking causes temporary paralysis to them. Now, this in turn makes their job of cleaning the mucus and other substances like dust particles from the lung airways comparatively ineffective.

Furthermore, there is also an increase in production and thickness of mucus in the lungs of smokers. The inability of the cilia to chuck of the mucus out of the lungs leads to accumulation of the mucus within the lung airbags, thereby choking them and thus leading to cough issues. If smoking persists it can also lead to chronic bronchitis, a kind of lung infection.

The short term inflammation caused by smoking can be reversed once you quit smoking. Though, initially for a few weeks post quitting, you may experience more coughing issues than you ever had while smoking. But, consider this as a positive signal is what experts say. You cough when the lungs are cleaning up your gunk which means that your cilia is again active and on the job of cleaning of mucus, from the airbags of your lungs.

Gradually, the breathing improves and swelling decreases as the lining of the lungs is no longer exposed to the irritants produced due to smoke. The decrease in swelling also aids in regulating the airflow through the passageways.

Statistically speaking, 10 years after you quit smoking, your chances of getting lung cancer are practically reduced to half. This does mean that there is always a risk because once upon a time you were a smoker but the 50% reduction in its possibility is off course a great consideration to quit smoking.

Having said that, one fact that which needs a mention is that not everyone’s lungs get functioning normally once they quit smoking. It actually depends on the number of packets you have been smoking and the number of years you have been doing so. The term is known as pack years and in simple words, the greater the number of pack years, the greater the damage or to put it the other way, lesser the irreversibility. Further, Lung cancer is most likely to occur amongst smokers and ex-smokers and not amongst non smokers.

So, if you’ve started smoking recently, quitting seems a smart idea. And if you have been smoking for a long time, it definitely is a wake up call to call smoking quits.

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Fungal Infections – An Over View

Fungal infections are very common part of our day to day lives. When our immune system is unable to handle the invasions of infection causing fungus, is when we get prone to the condition called fungal infection. There are usually two kinds of fungi that reside on human body. The helpful one and the harmful one. The invasion of harmful fungi causes infections as they cannot be killed easily and can rebound as well.Fungal Infections

The most common types of fungal infections in humans include -
Ringworm – This infection is caused by a fungus that lives on dead tissues of skin, nails and hair. It is also responsible for causing athlete’s foot and jock itch but if it occurs on other parts of the body it is known as ringworm. Generally, doctors

Jock itch – A mildly contagious infection by nature, it is caused by fungus that breed in damp and warm regions of the body like groin, inner thighs and buttocks. It causes redness of skin accompanied by itching, chafing or burning. Doctors usually prescribe some topical anti-fungal ointments and advise patients to maintain proper body hygiene.

Athlete’s foot – As the name suggests this infection is very common with sports people and athletes. The reason for it being so common with athletes is breeding environments like shoes, sports equipments, locker rooms, socks. Though it can happen to anyone as well. Athletes feet is also treated with topical anti-fungal oinments but some serious infections need oral medicinal intake as well.

Now, that we are aware of some of the common form of fungal infections let us run down some nutrients that can help us fight fungal infections and are commonly available.

Garlic – Garlic does limit the growth of fungus called candida to a large extent as it is highly sensitive to particularly the purified extract of garlic called allyl alcohol that produced oxidative stress thus supressing the growth of it.

Tea Tree Oil – This oil is effective on candida and various other fungal isolates. It treats candida and paronychia infections effectively as well. The tea tree oil disrupts the yeast cell wall thus inhibiting its growth.

Another way of to protect yourself from the unhealthy fungus, maintaining good population of the healthy fungus particularly to avoid vaginal infections, in women. Yogurt and pro-biotics are a good source of friendly bacteria in the vagina or rectum. Even fructooligosaccharides, a form of sugar is known to boost the levels of the good bacteria in the body, so adding one teaspoon daily to your diet should help you a lot in proliferation of friendly bacteria.

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Yes, you read that right. Chocolates are good for health and this is how. A recent study has found that Chocolate can help prevent heartbeat irregularities, thus reducing the risk of stroke and other heart diseases. As per the researchers, chocolate has worked well against atrial fibrillation, a condition which results in heart beat irregularities. In this condition, a variation in pace of the heart’s lower two chambers and atria or heart’s two upper chambers occurs. This irregularity in the heart beat increases the risk of heart failures, strokes as well as cognitive impairment.

The study found that adults consuming around 1 ounce of chocolate two to six times during the week had the strongest effect. Though the mechanism on how chocolate helps in preventing atrial fibrillation is yet to be known, it is said that flavonoids, types of compounds found in chocolate might play a significant role in the same as they already have anti-oxident and anti-inflammatory properties.
The data study of over 55000 adults, both male and female under the age group of 50-64 was analyzed to get the results. Here are the findings:

Women eating 1 ounce of chocolate once a week lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation by 21 percent.

Men eating 2 to six servings of 1 ounce of chocolate per week lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation by 23 percent.

Cocoa Rich Chocolates
It was found that chocolates with high content of cocoa if had in moderation are considered to be a heart healthy snack. They have significant health benefits as well as protective constituents. The study also revealed that chocolate consumers were healthier, well educated and had less chances of high blood pressure and diabetes when compared to non consumers of chocolate.

Having said that, the debate on the geographic constraint of the study is on, but yes, we can still consider eating cocoa rich chocolates in moderation for a healthy heart.

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Heartburn or Acid Reflux – Don’t Ignore This Sign

Eating habits of Indians include oily and sweet food intake and now add to it the junk food habits of the urban class.. all these roads end up to one common destination – heart burn. Heart burn is often ignored by people because it is a common condition that most of us happen to suffer from.

Heart burn is also known as acid reflux and is also a symptom for gastro esophadeal reflux. Our body consists of a specialized muscle called esophageal sphincter (LES) placed at the lowerside of the esophagus or food pipe. When we eat food, it opens up to allow food to pass through and instantly closes down to avoid reflux or backward movement of food, acids or enzymes present in the stomach into the food pipe. In order to avoid inflammation, the stomach is provided with a lining of special protective cells. But, esophagus has no such lining for protection hence is vulnerable to damage if there is a reflux of acids and digestive juices into it. Heart burn, also a general symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs when the digestive juices and acids reflux back into the esophagus.

Heartburn or Acid Reflux

Irregular and improper dietary habits usually pave the way to heartburn. Again, there are certain foods that instigate the secretion of acids in stomach again leading to the same. Some of these foods include intake of fruits containing acidic juices like pineapple, orange and veggies like tomatoes. Drugs like ibuprofen ans aspirin ,chocolates and caffeine, aerated drinks, alchohol and smoking and obesity, pregnancy and hiatal hernia, to name a few.

Ignoring a prolonged condition of heartburn could lead to ulcer formation, scarring and stricture and other related GERD complications. Heartburn could also lead to change in the type of cells lining the esophagus further causing Barett’s esophagus – a condition known to increase the risk of esophageal cancer.

Recurring heartburn needs a diagnosis, definitely. It includes physical examination and medical history.
X- Ray Test - A X-ray test that needs the patient to consume to contrasting drugs while watching the complete process through a x-ray. This is done to check whether the esophagus muscles are in good shape, working properly as well as for inflammations or issues withing the food pipe.
Endoscopy involves the use of a flexible scope fitted with a fibre optic camera for checking out the lining of esophagus and stomach.
Biopsy – This is only done if the gastroenterologists suspects possibilities of cancer.
Manometry – This is not a commonly used test in India and is carried out only if the traditional diagnosis does not give any outcome. Herein, pressure monitors are used measurement of acids inside the esophagus.

The primary treatment for heart burn involves change in lifestyle. This includes eating smaller potions of meals at frequent intervals, avoiding addictions like alcohol, smoking and more. Using a high pillow for head support while sleeping, avoiding or reducing fruits and veggies with excessive acids, weight loss if obese or overweight and using antacids but in limited proportions.

For patients suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, severe reflux issues leading to wheezing and pneumonia and intensive medical therapy failure, surgery is opted. With the advancement of technology laparoscopy is also used for non invasive treatment of more serious esophagus conditions like carcinoma.

So next time, take heart burn issues seriously and if it is recurring and prolonged then do consult a doctor because little do we know that heart burn might just be a sign of life threatening kidney disease like kidney cancer or even failure. Furthermore, do consult a doctor if you need to take heartburn drugs for a prolonged time period because regular intake could lead to serious renal issues as well.

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