Acid Reflux Meds/Kidney Damage Link Unclear
Is there a definitive link between proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)—commonly used to treat chronic heartburn or acid reflux—and kidney disease? Commercials for class-action lawsuits and an increasing amount of scientific evidence suggest there is. Although no direct association has been proven, and drug manufacturers insist the medications are safe, research shows the risk for chronic kidney disease is up to 50 percent higher in people who’ve taken proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, and others.
PPIs, which were first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1990, are highly effective at reducing symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and preventing and treating ulcers. In 2013, more than 15.3 million prescriptions were written for the medications and they are also available in over-the-counter forms. However, PPIs are approved by the FDA only for short-term use—weeks to months—and recent studies suggest they are often used for years—even decades—and may be prescribed unnecessarily in up to 66 percent of cases.
In 2016, two large studies raised concerns about a possible link between prescription heartburn medications and kidney disease. PPIs have also been associated with other adverse effects such as rare type of infectious diarrhea, pneumonia, and bone fracture. Patients using these medicines should talk to their health care provider about the risks and benefits.
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Sourced from: Kaiser Health News
Obesity Raises Gum Disease Risk
A recent study in Thailand suggests people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater are at increased risk for severe gum disease–periodontitis. According to researchers, severe gum disease risk is more than four times higher in people who are obese and three times higher in those who are overweight and may be related to inflammation in the body.
This study, which involved 160 adult participants—75 classified as obese, 38 classified as overweight, and 47 normal weight individuals for comparison, confirmed earlier research linking excess weight and oral disease. For the study, participants’ oral health—dental and periodontal—was evaluated by a specialist and digital panoramic x-rays were taken. Blood tests for various health markers were also performed.
After adjusting for other factors—smoking, physical activity levels, alcohol consumption, blood glucose, etc.—researchers found an increased risk for oral inflammation and severe periodontitis in people who were overweight or obese. It may be that excess weight increases the inflammatory response to bacterial plaque, resulting in periodontal disease.
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Sourced from: Med Page Today
Fennel Reduces Symptoms of Menopause Safely
Hot flashes. Mood swings. Night sweats. Difficulty sleeping. Most women nearing menopause—and people close to them—recognize the signs and symptoms of this normal phase of life. New research published in the journal Menopause suggests fennel can relieve symptoms of perimenopause without adverse side effects. Fennel has a licorice-like flavor and all parts of the plant—bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds—are edible.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which may be used to reduce symptoms and preserve bone health in peri- and postmenopausal women, has a number of harmful side effects—including an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Therefore, many women turn to complementary and alternative—often plant-based—medicine for relieving menopause symptoms. For this new study, which involved 90 women between the ages of 45 and 60, one group was given capsules containing 100 milligrams of fennel twice per day for a period of eight weeks and the other group was given a placebo.
According to researchers, fennel effectively reduced bothersome symptoms of menopause, without causing side effects. More studies are needed—this randomized, triple-blind trial—was one of the first clinical trials developed to evaluate the effects of fennel in menopausal women.
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Sourced from: MNT