Entries in Heart Problems (2)


Halloween Health Scare: Beware of Black Licorice 

JupiterImages/LiquidLibrary(WASHINGTON) -- As costume-clad kids get ready for a night of trick-or-treating, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a warning for candy-loving grown-ups: Too much black licorice can cause heart problems.

The old-fashioned favorite contains glycyrrhizin, a chemical that can trigger a dangerous drop in potassium levels. When potassium runs low, heart rhythms fluctuate and blood pressure can rise causing swelling, lethargy, even congestive heart failure.

Licorice has long been used as a natural remedy for heartburn, stomach ulcers, sore throat and some infections. Although its healing powers remain unclear, several studies have linked black licorice to heart disease and high blood pressure in people over 40 -- even  if they had no history of these conditions.

So how much is too much? According to the FDA, eating two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could land someone in the hospital with a heart arrhythmia.

People with high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease are even more susceptible to black licorice’s effects, according to the National Institutes of Health. As few as five grams per day could cause health problems.

The good news is cutting back on black licorice can quickly restore potassium levels.

Avoid eating large amounts of black licorice at a time, and alert your doctor if you notice an irregular heart rhythm or muscle weakness, the FDA said. Black licorice can also interact with some medications and dietary supplements, so talk to your doctor if you eat the sweet regularly.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Analysis Reinforces Links Between Avandia and Heart Problems

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NORWICH, England) -- In 2010, the FDA announced that it would significantly restrict the use of Rosiglitazone, popularly known as Avandia, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes after the drug was associated with a higher risk of heart attacks.

Now, a new review study from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England adds more weight to the mounting evidence of the drug being associated with heart problems.

Researchers from the U.S. and UK analyzed the results of 16 studies that directly compare the risk of heart problems for two drugs popularly known as Actos and Avandia. Both the drugs are used to treat type 2 diabetes.

The team found that, compared with Actos, Avandia was associated with a slightly increased risk of heart problems.  However, the researchers noted that both drugs belong to the same class and are known to be associated with heart problems.

While the drug remains on the market in the United States, the use of Avandia has been suspended in Europe since September 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio