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Find Good Reading » 2007 » February

Archive for February, 2007

Managing High Blood Pressure with Coenzyme Q10

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

For some people, regulating their high blood pressure can be a real problem.  Unfortunately, this means, many people take long-term medications to help control it.  However, many studies are being conducted on different non-drug alternative remedies that may prove useful in reducing and controlling high blood pressure.  One such remedy being studied is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

What is CoQ10?  CoQ10 is a coenzyme, which means that it is an enzyme with two parts.  One part is a vitamin-like substance that is found in each cell in the body, and plays a vital role in the production of energy within every cell.  CoQ10 is needed in order to maintain the health of cells, tissues and organs. 

The second part is an enzyme, which means it is also required to facilitate numerous chemical reactions within the body and act as a catalyst to these reactions.  CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant and is effective at destroying free radicals in the body. 

CoQ10 is manufactured by the body.  It is believed that the vitamins including vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, niacin, and folate, help the body convert tyrosine (an amino acid) into coenzyme Q10.  Although it exists throughout the body, CoQ10 is stored in the heart, liver and kidneys, and the heart and liver contain the highest levels.

How does CoQ10 help lower blood pressure?  Many people who have hypertension are deficient in Coenzyme Q10.  Furthermore, they require increased tissues levels of CoQ10.  The reason is because CoQ10 helps to prevent fatty acids from accumulating within the heart muscle and coverts them and other compounds into energy.  Thus, it is believed that CoQ10 helps remaining muscle cells work more effectively.

A number of studies have discovered that when used as a supplement, CoQ10 has modest blood pressure lowering effects.

One 10 week study conducted on 10 participants with hypertension treated the participants with 100 mg of CoQ10 supplement once a day.  When the study was complete, there was an average 10% drop in systolic pressure (161 mm HG to 142 mm Hg) and in the diastolic blood pressure (98 mm HG to 83 mm Hg).  Improvement was even seen in the cholesterol levels of these same participants.

Another study examined the affect CoQ10 supplements would have on those who suffer from isolated systolic hypertension (ISH).  This form of high blood pressure is the most common in America and is predominant in people older than 65.  ISH is characterized by having a systolic blood pressure of more than 140 mm HG, and a normal diastolic blood pressure that is less than 90 mm Hg. 

The 12 week study involved just over 80 participants with ISH.  Half of the participants were given a placebo and the other half 60 mg of CoQ10 supplement to be taken twice a day.  Throughout the entire study, each participant had their blood pressure checked twice per week.  At the end of the study, it was found that on average those who took CoQ10 had an 18 mm Hg reduction (165 mm Hg to 147 mm Hg) in systolic pressure.

Most studies have found CoQ10 to be beneficial for some individuals with different forms of hypertension; however, although the findings are promising, CoQ10 usually doesn’t show much of an improvement until 4 – 12 weeks after treatment begins.  Furthermore, it has yet to prove that it offers a significant benefit to most who suffer from hypertension.  More studies still need to be conducted.

If you are interested in taking CoQ10 for lowering your blood pressure talk to your doctor.

By Paul Johnson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover anti hypertension treatments. On the site you’ll also find more about the various hypertension symptom and how to lower blood pressure naturally

Lupron And Endometriosis What You Need to Know

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 23rd, 2007

Lupron and endometriosis is something a woman can consider if she has been properly diagnosed by her doctor, and knows that the symptoms she is suffering are caused by endometriosis and not interstitial cystitis.

What is lupron? Lupron Depot, or simply Lupron, is a hormone that has two main stages. First, it stimulates the ovaries so that they increase production of estradiol, which is the strongest of the three estrogens women produce. Second, the hormones that send messages to the ovaries to produce estrogen significantly decline. Therefore, lupron causes a dramatic decrease in estrogen levels in the body which cause women to experience side effects that mimic menopause.

Lupron and endometriosis treatment is short term therapy that last no longer than six months. Lupron is administered to patients by doctors or nurses via an injection.

After the first injection, the fist stage of lupron (increase in estradiol) occurs. During this time, the patient will likely experience an increase in their symptoms. These symptoms will begin to subside after a few weeks when more injections are administered and stage 2 (dramatic decrease in estrogen levels) occurs. As treatment progresses, women generally have lighter or heavier periods, or may experience a complete stop in their menstrual cycle.

Unlike many of the medical treatments for endometriosis, lupron is not a contraceptive, and lupron and endometriosis treatment is not considered safe during pregnancy. Therefore, you will need to abstain from sex or use other forms of contraceptives (I.E. condoms, diaphragms, or non-hormonal oral contraceptives). Should a woman suspect she is pregnant while taking lupron, she should contact her doctor immediately.

Is lupron right for you? Lupron and endometriosis treatment has been FDA approved; however, before you determine whether or not this treatment is right for you, it is essential that you first know the pros and cons of lupron prior to making your decision, and consulting your doctor for more information and recommendations.

The postive side effects – While Lupron can provide pain relief during treatment, its purpose is to provide considerable pain relief for several years. One clinical trial found that more than 60% of women that suffered from mild endometriosis, who participated in the study, were successfully symptom free for five years after stopping treatment. On the other hand, just over 25% of women who suffered from severe endometriosis had the same successful results.

The negative side effects – The following are the negative side effects that may occur from lupron and endometriosis treatment:
• Hot flashes
• Night sweats
• Palpitations
• Syncope (fainting or dizziness caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain)
• Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
• Headache
• Depression
• Nervousness
• Vaginitis (vaginal inflammation often resulting from bacterial infection)
• Loss of libido
• Tenderness or pain in the breasts
• Acne
• Weight gain

Many of the above symptoms mirror menopause symptoms, which is to be expected especially during treatment, due to the low levels of estrogen in the body.

Some women believe that lupron and endometriosis is a dangerous combination. Many women who have received the injections claim to have suffered from severe side effects such as cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), chest pain, confusion, depression, bone pain, loss of vision, extreme fatigue, and high blood pressure. Some women claim that these side effects lasted for a prolonged period of time after treatment was stopped.

Nevertheless, lupron is considered an effective and medically safe treatment for endometriosis, and most of the women who undergo the treatment find that the negative side effects they may experience during treatment are a small price to pay for the long-term relief of their painful endometriosis symptoms.

Are their alternatives to lupron? Yes. If you feel lupron and endometriosis are a risky combination, talk to your doctor about alternative remedies such as –
• Medical remedies - oral contraceptives, progestins, etc.
• Holistic treatments - acupuncture, hypnosis, elimination diet, etc.
• Surgery – Laparoscopy, etc.

By Shelley Ross. To find out more about endometriosis diagnosis and for information on endometriosis characteristics please visit Treat Endometriosis, where you can also sign up for a free newsletter focusing on treating endometriosis.

Is Treating Fibromyalgia with Medication For You?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 22nd, 2007

Joining a fibromyalgia support group can be excellent psychological and emotional therapy. However, talking and sharing your experiences with others is not likely to take away any of the painful physical symptoms or fatigue you feel. Therefore, many fibromyalgia sufferers need to turn to alternative and medical remedies to find relief from their symptoms.

There are different over-the-counter (OTC) and prescribed medications that a fibromyalgia sufferer may find beneficial to their condition. That being said, not every person with fibromyalgia will have the same response to medical treatment, and may require different treatment to address their specific symptoms.

Although there are a number of medications that can be prescribed for specific symptoms, or those currently being used in clinical trials, the following are the most common medical treatments prescribed:
Analgesics – Analgesics are drugs designed to relieve bodily aches and pains and are also known as painkillers. OTC analgesics include acetaminophen and the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Although NSAIDs are primarily used to reduce inflammation and inflammation is not a symptom of fibromyalgia, they offer effective pain relief. The problem with using NSAIDs for pain relief is that prolonged use of this medication can irritate the stomach lining, lead to digestive upset and cause stomach ulcers.

Aside from OTC analgesics, doctors may prescribe opioid analgesics such as tramadol. Tramadol is a narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain, and is typically used to treat surgical, arthritic and fibromyalgia pain. However, other stronger narcotics may be prescribed for sufferers with severe muscle pain.

The problem doctors have with prescribing narcotics is that although effective, there is a high risk that those who take them will become addicted and dependent on these drugs. Furthermore, narcotics can have many side effects including altering moods, behaviors and fatigue.

Antidepressants
Antidepressants are one of the most common medications prescribed for fibromyalgia sufferers. This is because antidepressants elevate the levels of specific brain chemicals such as norepinephrine and serotonin. Low levels of these and other brain chemicals can result in depression, pain and fatigue. By increasing chemical levels these symptoms can be improved.

Doctors provide different types of antidepressants to fibromyalgia sufferers based on how they feel. For instance, tricyclic antidepressants are provided to fibromyalgia patients who suffer from insomnia, as these meds help restore sleep. In addition, tricyclic antidepressants can help painful muscles relax and stimulate endorphins (body’s natural painkillers). Different tricyclic antidepressants that may be prescribed include: amitriptyline, doxepin, cyclobenzaprine and nortriptyline.

Additional antidepressant that may be used to treat depression and other fibromyalgia syptoms are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These include – fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine.

Antidepressants can be habit forming and may cause side effects such as dry mouth, weight gain, anxiety, gastrointestinal upset, loss of libido, insomnia, and fatigue. Note: each antidepressant will have different side effects.

Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are psychotropic drugs that have been known to help fibromyalgia sufferers relax tense and painful muscles, and with restless legs syndrome, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines have hypnotic and sedative effects, and like antidepressants, dependence and addiction can occur in some patients. Other side effects may include depression, memory impairment, slow motor skills, etc.

Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed to fibromyalgia sufferers who have not responded well to other treatments. Some Benzodiazepines meds prescribed include: diazepam, temazepman, clonazepam, and triazolam.

Despite what medication you may be interested in or your doctor may recommend, you need to make sure you ask your doctor important questions before taking any medication so you can receive the most effective treatment that is right for you.

6 important questions to ask your doctor
1. What are the medications you recommend for my specific symptoms?
2. What side effects can I expect and will this medication have negative interactions with other medications, foods or activities?
3. Should I continue taking medications even if I feel better?
4. What are the long-term effects this medication will have on my health?
5. Can I take any alternative therapies with this medication, or are there any alternative therapies I can try which might provide me with relief for my symptoms?
6. Are there any clinical trials I may be eligible for?

By Jane Thompson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover proven natural methods to help you combat the pain and frustration of Fibromyalgia. On the site you’ll also find more about the different fibromyalgia symptoms.