Harvard Heart Letter

In Brief

In Brief

Warfarin and urinary tract infection. Infections of the urinary tract are the second most common infection among older people. The antibiotic of choice for treating these infections is cotrimoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim). Canadian researchers have sounded a warning that it may interact with warfarin (Coumadin, generic). Among people taking warfarin, the use of cotrimoxazole for a urinary tract infection was four times more likely to cause serious bleeding than the use of other antibiotics (Archives of Internal Medicine, April 12, 2010). If you take warfarin and develop a urinary tract infection, then amoxicillin, ampicillin, or norfloxacin may be a better antibiotic option than cotrimoxazole. If your doctor thinks cotrimoxazole is the best choice, you should monitor your blood clotting time more carefully and may need to temporarily reduce your dose of warfarin.

Green exercise. Exercise is unquestionably good for the body. It's also good for the brain and mind. To maximize the effect of exercise on mental health, try walking in the woods, in a park, along a body of water, or in some other natural setting. The effect is almost instantaneous — just five minutes of outdoor exercise in a pleasing environment can be enough to improve mood, self-esteem, and other indicators of mental health (Environmental Science and Technology, March 15, 2010). Stretch out your walk in the woods to 30 minutes or so and you will be doing your heart and arteries a huge favor, too.

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