Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control – Issue 12

Dear Health-Conscious Friend,

If you’re one of the 65 million Americans struggling to keep your blood pressure under control, you might be all ears about the latest drug to receive the government’s stamp of approval.

In this week’s Monday Edition of Health News Weekly™, I’ll tell you how this new blood pressure medication may differ from ones currently on the market… and also what to watch out for if you are considering this new drug.

I’ll also tell you how those delicious spareribs, hot dogs and charbroiled burgers could expose you to a higher risk of breast cancer…

You’ll also find out why a cup of tea might be just what you need to soothe your stiff and achy joints! So let’s not waste another minute…

FDA Gives New Blood Pressure Drug “Thumbs Up”

Layne Lowery

With recent approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States is the first country to approve the drug Tekturna® for use in treating hypertension. It is the first of a new class of drugs called direct renin inhibitors.

These drugs work by targeting renin—the enzyme trigger for a process that contributes to high blood pressure. Tekturna® is the first drug designed to work at the beginning of the blood pressure regulation process. All other medications used to treat hypertension act at later stages.

According to Douglas C. Throckmorton, M.D., Deputy Director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, hypertension is often called a ‘silent killer’ because it usually has no symptoms—and can cause major damage to body organs. The condition affects about 25% of Americans—mostly senior citizens—and can increase your risk of stroke, kidney failure, heart failure and death.

The FDA said six placebo-controlled, eight-week clinical trials of more than 2,000 patients demonstrated Tekturna’s effectiveness at lowering blood pressure. The organization said patients across all demographic subgroups experienced these positive effects for up to one year. Tekturna’s side effects are listed as possible diarrhea, swelling of the face, lips or tongue, and difficulty breathing.

Of course, as with most drugs on the market, the list of side affects grows considerably as the drugs are released into the open market. It’s usually years after first FDA approval when the true consequences of a drug become known to the public.

One of the most recent cases of true side-effects being exposed is the Avandia scandal. This very popular diabetes drug has been peddled to millions of desparate and unsuspecting patients… only to find out now that Glaxo, the drug’s manufacturer may have known of the increased risk of heart attacks and death as early as the year 2000… and of course, failed to notify the public.

The Avandia scandal is now reported to have caused as many as 60,000 to 100,000 heart attacks. This drug has been shown to increase the risk of heart attacks by 43% and increase the risk of dying from cardiovascular causes by a whopping 64%!

As always, please take extreme caution and do your homework carefully before using any prescription drug. Always ensure that the benefits outweigh your risks. In most cases, you can enjoy the benefits and eliminate the risks with a natural alternative.

Barbecue Meat Lovers May Have
Higher Breast Cancer Risk

Roz Roscoe, Staff Writer

As the summer barbecue season heats up, you might want to throw plenty of vegetable shish kebabs on the grill too. A new study suggests postmenopausal women who ate the most grilled, smoked or barbecued meats over their lifetime have a 47% increased risk of breast cancer. And if you’re a meat lover who skimps on fruits and vegetables—the risk of getting breast cancer may increase to 74%!

Dr. Susan E. Steck and her colleagues at the University of South Carolina in Columbia discovered these findings when they compared recent meat consumption among 1,508 women with breast cancer and 1,556 healthy women. Dr. Steck said this finding supports lab and animal studies which show phytonutrients—commonly found in fruits and vegetables—serve as protection against cancer-causing substances.

Many people are aware that cooking meat at high temperatures produces some of these carcinogens. In addition to grilled, fried and barbecued meats, this is also true of pan fried meats. However, researchers noted poultry and fish did not seem to increase breast cancer risk when examined independently of red meat.

Dr. Steck cautions that while their research found a close association between cooked meat consumption and increased breast cancer risk—it does not conclusively show these meats cause the disease. She notes that other factors, such as the high-fat content in the diet of meat-loving women, could be at work.

In any case, try grilled fish or chicken at your summertime barbecue feasts. And don’t forget to fill your plate corners with plenty of fruits and veggies too!

Fast Fact

Here’s a “saucy” cure for skin eruptions! You can use tomato paste as a compress to cover skin boils. The tomato acids will soothe the pain—and will also bring the boil to a head!

Got Swollen, Stiff Joints? Get Green Tea!

If you deal with the pain and stiffness of swollen, achy joints from rheumatoid arthritis—this news might be just your cup of tea! A new study suggests a compound in green tea can prevent your system from producing substances that contribute to inflammation and joint damage.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System studied the effect of green tea compounds on IL-6 and COX-2—two strong molecules that cause bone erosion in people with rheumatoid arthritis. They isolated cells from the joints of patients who suffer with this form of arthritis.

The researchers placed these cells in a growth medium that contained a green tea compound. Next, they added an immune system protein known to play a role in causing joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.

Scientists were amazed to discover the EGCG in green tea prevented the growth of bone-destroying molecules! What’s more, EGCG also prevented the treated cells from producing a hormone that causes inflammation in the joints. These results suggest that natural or synthetic EGCG may be an effective way to preventing the joint destruction common to folks with rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers plan to test the EGCG compound in animals to see if it provides similar positive therapeutic benefits. This could lead to future tests of the compound in humans who suffer with this painful disease.

Health E-Hints

Healthy Snacks for Your Summer Sojourn!

The summer season is prime travel time for many people. A long-awaited vacation can be just the ticket for stress relief and relaxation. It can also wreak havoc with your healthy diet and exercise plan!

If you want to maintain healthy eating habits while on the road, try a few of these tips:

  • Pack healthy snacks—Raw or dried fruits, nuts, carrots and low-fat energy bars are great ways to satisfy hunger pangs!
  • Don’t leave hungry—Have a healthy meal before you leave. This will minimize the chance you’ll make poor food choices later in the day.
  • Check your surroundings—Search for healthy food options in or near your hotel. This can help you make good eating choices when you’re pressed for time.
  • Cut extra calories—Avoid sauces, or have them on the side. You can order a sandwich without mayonnaise and save 30 grams of fat.
  • Get some exercise—Participating in sports or other physical activities can help you speed your metabolism and burn the extra goodies you may eat while vacationing.

It is possible to stick to your diet and fitness program while you travel. With a little advance planning—you’ll stand a much better chance of maintaining good health while you travel!