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Is Your Medication Causing Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is not a disease in itself, but is a symptom of some other disorder in the body.   Atrial fibrillation is characterized by an irregular, rapid heart beat that can be either intermittent or permanent in nature.  Triggers for atrial fibrillation can include angina,  valvular heart disease,  heart attack, heart surgery,  hyperthyroidism,   anemia,  hypoglycemia,  hypertension,  atherosclerosis, electrolyte imbalances such as between sodium and potassium or calcium and magnesium , binge drinking,  strenuous exercise,  consumption of foods containing tyramine (such as cheese, red wine, yogurt, bananas and chocolate), caffeine,  nicotine,  bacterial infections such as Heliobacter-pylori and pharmaceutical drugs.

Pharmaceutical drugs that can trigger atrial fibrillation include Bisphosphonates such as Fosamax made by Merck Inc and Reclast by Novartis AG.  Women who have ever used alendronate, otherwise  known as Fosamax, have an 86% higher risk of atrial fibrillation.  Steroid use can also trigger atrial fibrillation. In the May 2006 Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr Stricker reports that in the Rotterdam Study the risk of new onset atrial fibrillation was significantly higher in individuals who received corticosteroids.   High doses of coricosteroids may affect the balance of potassium in cardiac muscle cells, which may  induce arrhythmia or can  cause sodium and fluid retention, leading to hypertension, left atrial enlargement and congestive heart failure….all known risk factors.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin etc) and naproxen (Aleve) are over the counter medications taken by tens of millions of Americans every day.  These drugs can cause serious heart rhythm abnormalities that can lead to stroke or sudden death!

 Then there are the prescription strength NSAID’s  prescribed by physicians every day.  These include: celecoxib (celebrex) diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren) etodolac (Lodine) ibuprofen (Motrin) indomethacin (Indocin) ketorolac (Torad0l)  (Anaprox, Naprosyn) meloxican (Mobic) oxaprozin (Daypro) piroxicam (Feldene) sulindac (Clinoril), Citalopram (Celexa).

 There are many other drugs that can cause atrial fibrillation or flutter, I am listing some of them but the list is not complete.    If you click on the highlighted terms, you will find a sample of studies related to the drug and atrial fibrillation and other side effects.   I have not provided links for all of the drugs as many of them are listed in the same studies.

If you develop atrial fib after starting a new prescription,  you need to do an online search for that medication and heart rhythm abnormalities to find out if there is a link.  I suggest you then talk to your natural health provider armed with this information and discuss other options to address your atrial fibrillation.  Remember,  your health is in your hands!

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Statins- What your doctor doesn’t tell you

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned that statin
drugs may be linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.  Considering that
one in four Americans over age 45 consumes a statin drug on a daily
basis, one should consider trying natural alternatives to lower cholesterol.

Studies found that people treated with statins (HMG COA-reductase inhibitors)
may develop high blood sugar and have an increased risk of developing Type 2
Diabetes.  The findings suggest that healthcare providers and patients should
monitor the sugar levels of patients on statin therapy and should carefully evaluate
whether benefits of these drugs outweigh the potential risks.

Herbs and supplements can be useful in helping to lower cholesterol without
the toxic side effects of  cholesterol medications.   Proper use of integrative
therapies can be both safe and effective and help to avoid adverse reactions
to statin drugs.    Some of the other reported side effect of statins are pain,
including headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, peripheral neuropathy, fatigue,
dizziness, swelling, blood pressure changes, ringing in the ears, depression,
sleep problems, sexual problems, dry skin, rashes, nausea, changes in
temperature regulation, increased irritability, changes in weight and cognitive

There are a number of alternative ways to manage cholesterol.  I have
listed several that are reported to be effective for you to discuss with your
alternative health care provider.  You can also find many cholesterol lowering
formulas.   Look for one that contains at least some of these supplements.
Click on the highlighted supplement to read studies linked to the supplement use.

    • Reishi  (also known as Ganoderma Lucidum)is a medicinal mushroom
      that is reported too reduce cholesterol  It should be taken with Vitamin C
      for maximum benefits.  Suggested dose  is 600- 800 mg 2 to 3 times daily.


    • Beta-sitosterol  is one of the most studied and proven to be most
      effective supplements to lower total and LDL cholesterol.
      suggested dose is 300-600 mg daily.


    • Cinnamon – A study published in the December 2003 issue of Diabetes
      Care Journal of the American Diabetes Association found that people with
      high cholesterol who took 1-6 mg of cinnamon powder for 40 day lowered
      their total cholesterol level 26 percent.  Cinnamon can affect blood
      glucose levels so it is recommended that you consult with your
      natural health care practitioner before using.


    • Beta Glucan according to an article published in “Comprehensive
      Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety”  in July of 2012,  eating
      foods containing beta glucan may lower your risk of heart disease
      by lowering your LDL (bad cholesterol) and raising your HDL
      (good cholesterol) and by lowering your blood pressure.


    • Probiotics -   Research indicates that probiotics convert cholesterol
      into a less absorbable form and send it into the gut for elimination.
      Suggested dosage is 2 probiotic capsules daily between meals.


    • Chromium Picolinate is essential in the metabolism and
      distribution of fats and lipids in the body and is therefor helpful
      in maintaining normal cholesterol.


    • Krill Oil  according to studies, Krill oil is significantly
      effective than fish oil in reducing cholesterol.
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