New Study Links PPI Medications With Increased Cardiovascular Risk

by Jennifer Mitchell Wilson B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in the United States. According to the CDC over 610,000 people die of heart disease every year. A new study out of Stanford University indicates that the use of PPI medication can increase this risk.

The study, that has been going on since 1994, studied the medical records of over three million adults to determine the risk of cardiovascular events in patients using PPI medications. Results from the study found that patients using PPI medications had a 16 percent greater chance of having a heart attack and were twice as likely to die from a heart related issue than those not taking PPI medications.

It is not entirely clear why there is an increase in heart issues among those on PPI medications, but researchers believe it is due to a decrease in nitric oxide in the blood vessel walls. Nitric oxide relaxes and protects the walls of the blood vessels and without it the risk of cardiac issues increase. Once patients stop taking PPI medications the nitric oxide levels return to normal.

If you are currently on a PPI medication don't stop taking your medication. Take some time to make an appointment with your physician to discuss whether the benefit of the medication outweighs the risk. If heart disease runs in your family or you already have some cardiovascular symptoms be sure that both your GI and cardiologist know all of the medications that you are taking.

You can also help to limit your risk for cardiovascular disease by reducing some of the controllable risk factors. If you are overweight, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on your cardiovascular system as well as help control acid reflux. Know your numbers for blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure and keep them in the normal range. If you are not already active, exercising as little as 30 minutes per day can provide cardiovascular benefits.

Taking these steps to care for your overall health can help reduce cardiovascular risk and lessen acid reflux symptoms. Win, win

Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition. She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years. Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER).

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson
Meet Our Writer
Jennifer Mitchell Wilson

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson is a dietitian and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.