Update on heart attacks and antibiotics
First some interesting facts:
The beating sound your heart makes is caused by its valves, which open and close routinely, in a specific rhythm.
Most heart attacks happen on a Monday. Not to be scrooge, but December 25th, Christmas Day, is the most common day of the year for heart attacks.
In an average day, your heart pumps the equivalent of nearly 2,000 gallons of blood through your body. Compare that to a six-person hot tub, which holds about 450 gallons of water.
The fairy wasp has the tiniest heart on record, whereas blue whales have the largest one, about five feet long.
Google is developing algorithms that it says can predict a heart attack by looking in your eye! This, according to research published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
I received two questions today. The first came from Tom who lives in Oklahoma, and he asked me if antibiotics could impact his heart.
Since antibiotics are drug muggers of almost all vitamins and minerals [i.e., they can prevent your body from utilizing these important substances], the answer is “Yes!” You need nutrients to keep your heart beating properly, because they act as a catalyst for your electric system.
Tom took clarithromycin (brand name: Biaxin) as part of triple therapy for his ulcer. Clarithromycin is a popular anti-bacterial sold worldwide.
The FDA issued a safety alert about it back in 2005, based on early study results pointing to heart problems with this drug. It did not at the time call for any changes in the labeling; just for patients to be made aware of the findings.
But this past March, the FDA issued a stronger “safety announcement” advising caution in prescribing it to patients with heart disease. This is based on 10 more years of follow-up results in the same study, which found people who took the antibiotic years ago (for even two weeks) might have a higher risk of dying from heart disease years later.
It doesn’t matter what condition you take the drug for — whether it’s for ulcers, sinus infections or wounds. It can still impact the cardiovascular system, and FYI, it’s not alone. Many antibiotics impact your heart.
So if your doctor prescribes the medication Clarithromycin and you already have heart disease or hypertension, I’d remind the doc of your condition in light of the recent studies. Don’t trust your doctor to know everything.
If you’ve had a heart attack or have heart failure, it’s not out of line to ask for a different antibiotic. This reminder (about your medical history) becomes particularly important if you go to a walk-in clinic instead of your regular physician.
My second question came from Brad in Florida regarding his pacemaker. He asked if it can be hacked.
Theoretically, yes. Never say never. Unscrupulous creeps could hack a pacemaker and reprogram it, causing it to do erratic pulsing, deliver potentially fatal shocks, or stop altogether by draining the battery.
But in order to do this, a hacker would need to know the brand of your implanted device and its particular radio frequency. Then, we need this unethical person to know how to reprogram that specific proprietary device, and he’d have to get in close enough range to tinker with the software. Sounds like a movie plot!
So breathe easy, because the odds are low that anyone would hack your pacemaker.
This information is opinion only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Consult with your doctor before using any new drug or supplement.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit www.SuzyCohen.com.