Health Shorts — December 2023
Several eyedrop products recalled
U.S. health regulators are warning consumers to set aside more than two dozen varieties of over-the-counter eyedrops because of the risk of infections that could lead to blindness.
The Food and Drug Administration advisory applies to a limited group of lubricating eye drops, gel drops and artificial tears sold by six companies, including CVS Health, Target, Rite Aid and Cardinal Health. [Ed Note: The affected products’ expiration dates range from November 2023 to September 2025.]
For a complete list of recalled products, many of which contain carboxymethylcellulose sodium, propylene glycol and/or polyethylene glycol, visit FDA.gov or go directly to the list at bit.ly/eydroprecall.
[Ed Note: The manufacturer in India has issued a voluntary recall, so the affected products should no longer be on pharmacy shelves.]
Consumers who have already purchased the affected products should stop using them immediately and return them to the place of purchase.
No injuries related to the products had been reported as of November 15, 2023.
© 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Marijuana raises heart and stroke risk
A pair of studies have found that older adults who use marijuana have more risk of heart attack or stroke when hospitalized than non-users, and are more likely to develop heart failure if they are daily users.
The two studies, which have not been published, were presented in November at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia. Both studies excluded cannabis users who also smoke tobacco in order to focus solely on the cardiovascular effects of marijuana consumption.
The AHA recommends against smoking tobacco or marijuana because of the potentially damaging effects on the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
“The latest research about cannabis use indicates that smoking and inhaling cannabis increases concentrations of blood carboxyhemoglobin (carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas) and tar (partly burned combustible matter), similar to the effects of inhaling a tobacco cigarette, both of which have been linked to heart muscle disease, chest pain, heart rhythm disturbances, heart attacks and other serious conditions,” University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences professor Robert Page II said in a statement.
—New York Daily News © 2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
How to avoid caffeine withdrawal
Drinking as little as 100 milligrams of caffeine per day (roughly the amount in 12 ounces of coffee) can lead to symptoms of caffeine withdrawal when consumption is stopped.
When doses of caffeine are higher (the average adult caffeine consumer in the U.S. ingests about 280 milligrams per day), the symptoms of withdrawal are likely to be more severe.
Caffeine withdrawal syndrome is marked by three or more of the following symptoms:
- marked fatigue or drowsiness
- dysphoric mood, depressed mood or irritability
- difficulty concentrating
- flu-like symptoms (nausea, vomiting or muscle pain and stiffness)
If you’re considering stopping your caffeine intake, you can take steps to minimize or avoid symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.
The most important thing to do is to gradually reduce your caffeine intake over a period of days or weeks. Research shows that tapering off your caffeine intake by 25% every two days will work best to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
© 2023 Environmental Nutrition/Belvoir Media Group. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Walking lowers risk of heart-related death
The more steps you take, the lower your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, with the benefits starting with as few as 2,300 steps per day, a new analysis suggests.
Published online in August by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, the study pooled data from 17 studies from around the world involving nearly 227,000 people in total. Their average age was 64, with nearly equal numbers of men and women.
The minimum number of daily steps needed to lower the risk of dying from heart disease was just 2,337. But every additional 500 steps per day lowered the risk even more.
And researchers noted no upper limit to the benefits, even among people who walked as many as 20,000 steps per day (although few people fell into that category).
In addition, the findings were consistent across varied climate zones in countries that included the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.
—Harvard Health Letter, © 2023 by Harvard University