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Getting a Hold on Cholesterol

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. It is needed by your cells to function and your body does make it naturally. But you also get cholesterol from the food you eat. High cholesterol, also known by its medical name of hypercholesterolemia, can be a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. High levels of cholesterol are due to a variety of factors that can include diet, exercise, and even your heredity. Whether you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol or you are concerned about the possibility of being diagnosed, there are some things that can be done to help you maintain a healthy balance and help to deter major complications.

Change of diet: One of the most tried and true methods of battling bad cholesterol is changing your diet. After being diagnosed, your doctor may recommend you speak with a licensed nutritionist or a dietician. Since cholesterol is found in so many foods, eliminating or cutting down on specific ones may help to battle your overabundance. Fried, fatty foods are especially full of cholesterol and should only be enjoyed in moderation. Talk to professionals and do research on what foods are good and not good to eat with cholesterol levels in mind.

Exercise: Lowering your overall body fat can help to reduce cholesterol. Work with a trainer to increase your exercise gradually so that you can lose weight and increase your body’s strength. Ensuring heart health by proper exercise will help to combat the negative potentials from high cholesterol.

Herbs and supplements: Talk with your doctor about natural herbs and other supplements that you can add to your routine to help with your cholesterol. They will be best suited to advise you on what will work best for your specific situation. Many individuals have had luck supplementing their diet with herbs in an effort to keep cholesterol issues at bay.

Prescribed medications: If your cholesterol is at a dangerous level or your doctor is concerned lifestyle changes may not be enough, they may prescribe you a medication to help bring down your high levels. Statins tend to be some of the most prescribed since they help to block the production of “bad” cholesterol in the liver itself. They have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, and other complications tied to high cholesterol. Your doctor will most likely take a look at your lifestyle, your levels, and other health concerns to make the determination on what type of medication is best for you.

High cholesterol doesn’t mean that you have to stop enjoying everything in life. By making some healthy lifestyle changes and following the direction of your doctor, you can do your best to make sure it doesn’t turn into a major problem. If high cholesterol runs in your family, it is never too early to make changes and start living as healthy of a lifestyle as possible to try and combat a diagnosis later on. Talk with your doctor or nutritionist to decide what next step is best for you.

Medication Recalls

Friday, November 6, 2015

Have you ever been informed of a recall on a medication you’ve been taking? A recall can be a scary thing and information on what to do is not always readily available. A drug recall occurs when a prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicine is pulled from distribution because it is found to be either defective or harmful to those who take it. A recall can occur when the producers of the drug discover a problem and voluntarily recall it or when the FDA receives reports of problems from the public and makes the recall mandatory.

So what are some of the reasons a drug could be recalled? While this list doesn’t contain every reason a medication could be recalled, these are the reasons that tend to occur the most.

General health hazard:
As you probably know, any medication is required to go through vigorous testing before it is allowed to be released to the general public. However, some health risks associated with certain medications are not realized until after they have been widely used across a great deal of people. It may even take years for the bad side effects to be realized and for the drug to be recalled.

Poor packaging or incorrect labels: Medications can be recalled if dosing instructions are unclear or if other information is incorrect.

Contamination: If there is reason or proof to believe that a medication became contaminated during production or distribution, a recall will be issued.

Manufacturer defects: Any defect that occurs during production that relates to a medication’s quality, purity, or potency can warrant a recall.

Both manufacturers and the FDA will try to spread as much word as possible about a recall through news outlets and social media. However, this important information still may not get to everyone it needs to. Check the FDA’s website as often as possible to make sure your medications are not affected. If you take an over the counter medication that is recalled, it is generally okay to stop taking it before consulting your doctor. You can even usually return the product to the place of purchase and ask for a refund since most stores have a policy in place for recalled items. If your recalled medication is prescribed by your doctor, contact them or your pharmacist before discontinuing. If you aren’t quite sure what to do, drug manufacturers will have a hotline number that you can call for more information.

Staying informed about the medications you take is so important. While medication recalls are something to take seriously, be sure not to panic if one of yours is affected. Follow up with the manufacturer and your doctor about the appropriate next steps to ensure your health is not jeopardized.

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