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‘Good’ cholesterol linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease

HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol, may not be so good after all. A new study published in the journal Nature Medicine has linked high levels of HDL to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol is a lipid, or fat, produced by the liver. It is vital for normal body function however elevated levels of cholesterol have been associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Because of this, many people are prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications. A cholesterol reading is made up of HDLs, or “good” cholesterol, and LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. HDL is considered a “friendly scavenger” because ... Read More

4 prescription drugs that can be dangerous to your health

Doctors prescribe medication to help relieve symptoms, clear up infections, or prevent or control serious health problems. However, even well-intending drugs can cause serious and even life threatening side effects that people should be aware of. Here’s a list of commonly prescribed medications and their potential adverse effects. 1. Type 2 diabetes drugs – Diabetics rely on these drugs to help keep their blood sugar levels in check. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health consequences including heart disease, kidney disease, dementia and neuropathy, to name a few. But these drugs can carry cancer risks. Studies have linked the widely ... Read More

Testosterone replacement products may be overprescribed

Many older men use testosterone replacement products but do not meet the clinical guidelines for treatment, putting them at risk for potentially serious side effects, a new study shows. Testosterone is the male hormone that is credited for improving sex drive, sperm production and bone health. Levels of testosterone generally fall as men age. In some cases, low testosterone can cause men to lose interest in sex and gain weight. In some cases, testosterone therapy can treat these symptoms. Testosterone use among older men has skyrocketed in the past decade, thanks in large part to heavy marketing campaigns in the ... Read More

More men getting testosterone treatment but may not need it

Many older American men start testosterone therapy without a real medical need, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Levels of the male hormone testosterone typically drop as men age, causing symptoms such as low sex drive, weight gain and a lack of energy. Many drug companies now offer testosterone replacement products, such as AndroGel, Testim, and Axiron. These drugs require a doctor’s prescription after blood tests confirm that testosterone levels are below average. Many men in the United States have been lured by drug companies’ marketing campaigns that tout the benefits of testosterone ... Read More

Testosterone therapy dangerous for men who have undergone coronary angiography

Men who underwent a heart procedure known as  coronary angiography and used testosterone replacement therapy to increase their low testosterone levels were at a 30 percent increased risk of death, heart attack, or stroke, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Testosterone therapy, which includes products such as AndroGel, Testim and Axiron, has increased greatly in the past decade thanks in large part to aggressive marketing campaigns from pharmaceutical companies encouraging men to talk to their doctors about whether they have “Low T.” Low testosterone levels can be blamed for low libido, ... Read More

Elevated testosterone levels can weaken one’s immune response to flu shot

Higher levels of the male hormone testosterone can weaken the immune response to some types of flu vaccine and should be a word of caution for those who use testosterone replacement therapy, researchers say. Researchers with the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection analyzed samples from 53 women and 34 men and found that women had significantly stronger antibody response to the trivalent inactivated seasonal flu vaccine (TIV). They also found that men with higher levels of testosterone had the lowest antibody responses to TIV. “This is the first study to show an explicit correlation ... Read More

FDA considering whether to expand usage of cholesterol medication Vascepa

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a proposal by biopharmaceutical company Amarin to expand the indication for Vascepa, a prescription-strength fish-oil pill designed to lower triglyceride levels in patients with high cholesterol. The drug, which includes a mega dose of omega-3 fatty acid, was approved last year for a very small and specific use for patients with unusually high triglycerides. An advisory panel voted earlier this year not to recommend expanding the drug’s usage. Most panel members said that while Vascepa significantly lowered fat levels, it did not show whether the drug helps reduce heart attack risk. The ... Read More

Medical app for smartphone can analyze cholesterol levels in blood

Researchers with Cornell have developed a test strip that can pair with a smartphone app to read cholesterol levels. The process involves the user dabbing a drop of his blood onto a simple test strip. He snaps a photo of the test strip using a special flash diffuser to correct lighting, and then uses an app to analyze the results. Since blood changes colors depending on how much cholesterol is in the blood, the app can determine a person’s cholesterol level through an image analysis of the picture of the test strip. Proponents say the app is a plus for ... Read More

Liver failure blamed on Mass Destruction body building supplement

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning people not to use Mass Destruction, a nutritional product used to aid in muscle growth, because it contributed to a previously healthy 28-year-old man’s liver failure, leaving him in need of a liver transplant. The man reportedly used the product for several weeks. Mass Destruction is labeled to contain at least one synthetic anabolic steroid. The FDA is conducting an analysis to determine if any other harmful ingredients are included in the product. Products that contain anabolic steroids and steroid-like substances can cause liver injury. In general, anabolic steroids may cause other ... Read More

Testosterone treatment linked to increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, death

Aggressive marketing campaigns by drug companies peddling testosterone treatments has resulted in an increasing number of men asking their doctors if they are a candidate for testosterone therapy. Low levels of testosterone, or “Low T” as the drug companies have dubbed it, can be blamed for a variety of symptoms from fatigue and low libido to muscle weakness and weight gain. But testosterone supplementation may not be the wonder therapy marketers are claiming it to be. Recent studies show that men who take the drugs are 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or die during a ... Read More