February 2011 references and further reading

Antman EM, Bennett JS, Daugherty A, Furberg C, Roberts H, Taubert KA. Use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs: an update for clinicians: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2007; 115:1634-42.

Sudano I, Flammer AJ, Periat D, et al. Acetaminophen increases blood pressure in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation 2010; 122:1789-96.

Forman JP, Rimm EB, Curhan GC. Frequency of analgesic use and risk of hypertension among men. Archives of Internal Medicine 2007; 167:394-9.

(Locked) More »

Acetaminophen may boost blood pressure

A small Swiss study found that daily use of acetaminophen can cause an increase in blood pressure, which is of concern to people with cardiovascular disease. When the participants took acetaminophen, average systolic blood pressure increased from 122.4 to 125.3, while the average diastolic pressure increased from 73.2 to 75.4. Blood pressure stayed steady when participants took the placebo.

More »

Protect your heart during dental work

In the past, people taking an antiplatelet medication were usually told to stop taking it temporarily before dental surgery, but doing so may increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke in the weeks following the procedure. Experts we talked to offered advice about how to protect your heart if you need to undergo periodontal treatment or other invasive dental work.

(Locked) More »

Coping with shortness of breath

One of the most distressing complications of advanced heart failure is the feeling that you can't get enough air. This shortness of breath — dyspnea — has been defined as "a subjective experience of breathing discomfort" and "an uncomfortable sensation or awareness of breathing." People who have chronic shortness of breath describe it as suffocating, smothering, and hungering for air. Chronic shortness of breath affects millions of people. It also commonly accompanies conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, stroke, muscular dystrophy, and others. Researchers have formulated new guidelines to identify and treat this condition in those who suffer from it.

(Locked) More »

New drug offers warfarin alternative for atrial fibrillation

A newly approved alternative to warfarin, a drug called dabigatran (sold under the brand name Pradaxa), fights stroke better than warfarin, with less bleeding into the brain, among people with atrial fibrillation. It could also make life a little bit easier for them. Pradaxa is not affected by diet and does not require its dosage to be fine-tuned. For some people, switching right away to Pradaxa makes sense. For others, it is worth adopting a watch-and-wait strategy. Talk with your doctor to see which approach is right for you.

(Locked) More »

In Brief

Brief updates on coughing as a side effect of a type of blood pressure medication, waist circumference as an indicator of longevity, and a possible correlation between multiple miscarriages and increased risk of heart attack.

(Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Could a sudden gain in weight be caused by hot weather?

At 80 years old, I am in relatively good health, aside from a recent diagnosis of high blood pressure. Taking a beta blocker and watching my salt has brought my blood pressure down into the normal range. During a period of extreme heat this summer, my ankles were more swollen than usual, and my weight jumped three pounds in just two days. Was that because of the heat, or did salt have something to do with it?

(Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Could getting a pacemaker have damaged my vagus nerve?

I recently had a pacemaker implanted. While the process was going on, I felt a pulsation that I reported to the doctor. I still feel it seven months later. Other symptoms include low blood pressure, an increase in weight, and digestive changes. My primary care doctor thinks that my vagus nerve could have been damaged when the pacemaker was implanted. Is that possible?

(Locked) More »