Master Your Own Health – Issue 29

Dear Health-Conscious Friend,

You probably know by now you just can’t rely on the medical establishment to keep you healthy. The medicines doctors and government agencies approve as “cures” often cause more problems than they solve!

But if you’re ready to take charge of your health—you’re going to love today’s Monday edition of Health News Weekly™!

You’re about to discover simple tips to help you be a master of your own health!

I’ll tell you why a deadly infection seems to hit seniors harder than other age groups. You’ll also learn about the latest threat to your health caused by some popular male sex drugs…

…and you’ll see why sticking with your sleep apnea treatment may be one of the best things you can do for your heart.

So why not roll up your sleeves and dig in!

Senior Citizens Are Four Times More Likely to
Contract MRSA Staph Infection

Layne Lowery

Older Americans are more susceptible to infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A study in the October 17th issue of Journal of the American Medical Association said Americans age 65 and older are four times as likely to be hit by this potential killer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say MRSA occurs most frequently among patients who:

  • Undergo invasive medical procedures
  • Have weakened immune systems!
  • Receive treatment in hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis centers

MRSA in healthcare settings commonly causes serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses, such as bloodstream infections… surgical site infections… or pneumonia.

MRSA has become the most frequent cause of skin and soft tissue infections among emergency department patients in the United States.

R. Monina Klevens, D.D.S., M.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a study to determine the incidence of invasive MRSA disease in certain U.S. communities in 2005. They used study results to estimate the prevalence of invasive MRSA infections in the U.S.

Researchers conducted a population-based surveillance for MRSA in nine sites participating in the Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs)/Emerging Infections Program Network from July 2004 through December 2005.

The research team investigated and classified MRSA incidents as either health care–associated or community-associated.

There were 8,987 observed cases of invasive MRSA reported during the surveillance period.

After adjusting for age, race and sex, the incidence rate of invasive MRSA for 2005 was 31.8 per 100,000 persons.

Incidence rates overall were highest among persons 65 years and older (127.7 per 100,000), blacks (66.5 per 100,000), and males (37.5 per 100,000).

The study authors conclude that “invasive MRSA disease is a major public health problem and is primarily related to health care but no longer confined to acute care. Although in 2005 the majority of invasive disease was related to health care, this may change,” the researchers write.

FDA Warning: Male Sex Drugs May Cause
Sudden Hearing Loss!

Roz Roscoe, Staff Writer

In addition to a pain in your pocket—using erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs may cost you your hearing as well!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently mandated stronger warnings about potential risk of sudden hearing loss on the labels of ED drugs such as Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra.

According to an FDA announcement, it is very commonly reported in an aging population—some of whom tend to be major users of ED drugs. But the agency says sudden hearing loss is uncommon at any age.

The FDA plans to require the same label changes for the drug Revatio, also a member of the drug class known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors.

Revatio is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). PAH is a serious condition in which continuous high blood pressure in lung arteries weakens the heart muscle. This often leads to heart failure and possibly death.

The FDA asked drug manufacturers to revise product labeling after a small number of patients taking PDE5 inhibitors reported sudden hearing loss. This was sometimes accompanied by ringing in the ears and dizziness.

“Because some level of hearing loss is usually associated with the aging process, patients on these drugs may not think to talk to their doctor about it,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., FDA’s deputy commissioner for scientific and medical programs, chief medical officer, and acting director of its Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Patients taking Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra who experience sudden hearing loss should immediately stop taking the drug and seek prompt medical attention.

Those using Revatio should continue taking their medication but should contact their health care provider for further evaluation. Because Revatio is used to treat a potentially life-threatening condition, the FDA does not recommend patients abruptly stop taking this medication.

These patients should consult their physician if they experience sudden problems with their hearing.

Fast Fact

Eggs-tra, eggstra—read all about! Did you know eggs are a rich source of lecithin—a nutrient which helps modulate cholesterol? Believe it or not, this important nutrient is highly concentrated in the egg yolk.

This idea may be at odds with the popular belief that egg whites are more healthy and nutritious than the yolks. But you should know egg whites contain proteins that can cause an immune system response.

To help moderate cholesterol—3 to 4 eggs weekly is thought to be a safe amount.

Sleep Apnea Treatment May Boost Heart Health!

Tiffany Lowery

Sleep apnea therapy may do more than stop snoring and aid nighttime breathing. A new study suggests patients who stick with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can also help their hearts.

Researchers at the University Hospital of Alexandroupolis in Greece found that patients who consistently stuck with CPAP treatment also showed dips in their cholesterol and homocysteine levels.

CPAP is considered the most effective therapy for sleep apnea. This disorder occurs when soft throat tissues temporarily collapse during sleep. This causes repeated stops and starts in breathing throughout the night.

The therapy involves delivering pressurized air through a facemask to keep airways open.

Besides loud snoring and daytime drowsiness—sleep apnea may also raise the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease. Doctors suspect the disorder causes severe oxygen deprivation and hyperactive nervous system activation during sleep.

In time this can put extra stress on your entire cardiovascular system!

The Greek researchers found that among 53 men and women who started CPAP therapy—those who most consistently used the CPAP device reduced their levels of cholesterol… C-reactive protein (CRP)… and homocysteine. CRP and homocysteine are blood proteins associated with heart disease risk.

In contrast, patients who were less consistent with their CPAP treatment experienced fewer benefits. The study showed that participants who used the device for fewer than 4 hours per night only showed decreases in homocysteine levels.

And patients who refused CPAP therapy altogether had no changes in any of the measured heart disease markers.

Lead researcher Dr. Paschalis Steiropoulos of the University Hospital of Alexandroupolis said these findings highlight the importance of sticking with sleep apnea treatment.

Health E-Hints

Water Workouts Provide Joint Pain Relief!

If you suffer with osteoarthritis knee or hip pain, a water workout may be your key to sweet relief!

Danish researchers said aerobic exercises in warm water may help relieve pain and improve daily function in people with knee or hip osteoarthritis. They reached this conclusion after reviewing studies involving about 800 patients.

Osteoarthritis affects about 21 million Americans, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Treatment typically involves a combination of weight control, medication, physical therapy and exercise.

In the studies, participants did aquatic exercise for different lengths of time throughout the week. In most of the studies, researchers checked patient progress after three months of therapy.

The review authors said water exercise may decrease osteoarthritis pain by one more point on a scale of 0 to 20. And joint function may improve by three more points on a scale of 0 to 68!

Based on these findings, doctors may want to consider using water exercise as the first part of a longer exercise program for osteoarthritis patients.