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Entries in Mayo Clinic (6)

Thursday
Jun212012

Blood Pressure Drug Linked to Celiac Disease Side Effects in Patients

Jack Hollingsworth/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A drug used for treating high blood pressure has been linked with a number of severe gastrointestinal side effects, according to a report from the Mayo Clinic.

Between 2008 and 2011, 22 patients taking the drug olmesartan, sold under the brand name Benicar, suffered symptoms similar to celiac disease, including chronic diarrhea, vomiting, intestinal inflammation and weight loss. Fourteen of the patients had to be hospitalized.

Doctors tried putting the patients on a gluten-free diet, the typical solution for treating celiac disease, but to no avail.

"We thought these cases were celiac diseases initially because their biopsies showed features very like celiac disease, such as inflammation," said Dr. Joseph Murray, the Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist treating the patients, in a news release. "What made them different was they didn't have the antibodies in their blood that are typical for celiac disease."

When patients stopped taking olmesartan, their symptoms improved dramatically.

Olmesartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker, or ARB, a popular class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, pharmacies dispensed the drug to 1.2 million Americans in 2010. About 68 million Americans have high blood pressure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Doctors are skeptical that the findings apply to most of the people who take olmesartan or other ARBs. Dr. Franz Messerli, director of the hypertension program at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, said just because the side effects stopped when patients stopped taking the drug doesn't necessarily mean that the drug caused those side effects.

"Only re-exposure [to the drug] can confirm that the GI side effects were indeed due to olmesartan," he said.

And many doctors say that GI side effects from the drug are very uncommon.

"I use this agent all the time with excellent results with respect to blood pressure lowering," said Dr. Henry Black, clinical professor of cardiology at NYU-Langone Medical Center. "I find it very difficult to believe that this very small sample of individuals means anything."

Black said it's more important to know whether other drugs in the ARB family have produced similar side effects.

Other doctors said there are other more likely explanations for the reported side effects.

"The report from the Mayo Clinic would suggest a drug allergy of sorts and findings that would not relate to the mechanism of action of this drug," said Dr. Domenic Sica, a professor of medicine and pharmacology at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System.

Murray said physicians should know that the drug has the potential for side effects.

"It's really an awareness issue. We want doctors to be aware of this issue, so if they see a patient who is having this type of syndrome that they think about medications as a possible association," Murray said in the news release.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr012012

Melanoma Rates Increasing in Young Adults, Women Hit Hardest 

Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study reveals that melanoma rates for young adults are increasing, and young women are suffering twice as much as young men, Health Day reports.

Mayo Clinic researchers used records from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, which is a database of all patient care in Olmsted County, Minn. that spans decades. The researchers sought first-time diagnoses of melanoma in patients 19 to 39 years old between 1970 and 2009. They found that the occurrence of melanoma increased eight times in young women and four times in young men.

Researchers indicated that the use of indoor tanning beds may be contributing to the trend, but said ultraviolet exposure and childhood sunburns could also be a factor.

The study revealed, however, that although melanoma rates are on the rise, the number of people dying from skin cancer has decreased. Researchers attribute increased survival rates to early detection of the disease and prompt medical treatment.

The findings appear in the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun302011

Mayo Clinic Prescribes Intense Workouts for Heart Patients

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, Minn.) -- Applying training methods that have long helped athletes improve performance, the Mayo Clinic has urged its cardiac patients to apply the principles of high-impact interval training to speed their recovery.

The patients -- recovering from heart attacks, bypass surgery, heart failure and coronary artery disease -- undertake workouts that consist of short bursts of intense exercise, pushing themselves to heart rates of up to 95 percent, followed by periods of more exercise at a more moderate pace.

"They're going to a greater increase in cardiovascular fitness, they're going to see a faster increase in cardiovascular fitness," said Ray Squires, program director of the Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Center at Mayo Clinic.

Conventional wisdom for cardiac rehabilitation has long called for patients to start exercising slowly, at fairly low intensity, and gradually increasing it in duration, up to 45 minutes, but at a relatively steady pace of about 60 percent of the patient's exercise capacity.

Yet for the past four years, cardiac patients at the Mayo Clinic have been interval training, which allows the heart to pump more blood and transport more oxygen to the skeletal muscles, producing more energy during exercise.

While athletes have been interval training for many years, and its use for cardiac patients has been studied intermittently since the 1990s, the practice is still controversial. Mayo is one of the only medical facilities in the U.S. to use intense interval training in the early stages of cardiac rehabilitation.

"We have yet to show that this kind of rehab will have long-term impact in terms of making people live longer or stay out of the hospital," said Dr. Marrick Kukin, a cardiologist at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospitals in New York.

That may be, but Squires is confident that interval training has helped his patients. "It probably improves blood pressure, and improves the ability of the patient to process blood sugar," he said. "And it probably improves mood."

Squires believes that up to 90 percent of the heart patients the Mayo Clinic sees could benefit from the training, though only a much smaller portion choose to participate.

Interval training is not recommended for those with angina or chest pain during exercise, nor for patients with high or low blood pressure or those with muscle aches and pains.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr042011

Nighttime Leg Twitching Sign of Heart Problems?

Siri Stafford/Digital Vision(NEW YORK) -- New information finds that restless leg syndrome could be a sign of hidden heart problems.

Millions of Americans are thought to suffer nighttime muscle twitching of the legs and it wasn't always thought to be a big deal but Dr. Arshad Jahangir at the Mayo Clinic, where the research was conducted, says it can be linked to a thicker heart muscle.

Jahngir and others looked at 584 patients with the syndrome and found that those with more frequent twitching were more likely to have a thickening of the heart.

The link is not yet certain, but if you suffer from restless legs syndrome, Jahangir advises it's worth discussing with your physician.

“Not every patient who has frequent leg movement had ventricular hypertrophy,” Jahangir said, “so we need to understand more why some people get this type of thickening response and others not.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan122011

Research Pinpoints Your Risk of Autoimmune Disease

Photo Coutesy - Getty Images(ROCHESTER, Minn.) – New research has revealed the average risk an American will face of developing an autoimmune disease in their lifetime, reports WebMD.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say that one in 12 women and one in 20 men will develop such a disease over the course of their lives.

"We estimated the lifetime risk for rheumatic disease for both sexes, something that had not been done before," researcher Cynthia Crowson said. "Prevalence and incidence rates existed, but prevalence figures underestimate individual risk and incidence rates express only a yearly estimate."

The most common autoimmune disease is rheumatoid arthritis, followed by polymyalgia rheumatic. According to the research, 3.6 percent of women and 1.7 percent of men will develop rheumatoid arthritis while 2.4 percent of women and 1.7 percent of men will develop PMR.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct272010

Blood Pressure Treatment on Rise in Younger Adults, Says CDC Report

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Kristen Pessalano just turned 23, but has been on blood pressure medication for more than two years. Pessalano, a New Yorker who works in public relations, found out she had high blood pressure while getting a physical before heading abroad for an internship.

"[I] got upset when I first found out because I automatically associated it with people who are overweight or old," said Pessalano. "I would have never associated high blood pressure with someone my age, especially when I appeared to be totally healthy."

Pessalano has a lot of company, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report finds that while the percentage of Americans who have high blood pressure has remained steady over the past decade, the number of younger adults -- ages 18-39 -- who take medication to treat high blood pressure has increased.

Doctors say they're not taken aback because of other health problems that plague younger adults.

"I'm not surprised that more and more young people are being treated for high blood pressure since the incidence of obesity, a contributing cause for high blood pressure, is increasing in this age group," said Dr. Randal Thomas, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"With increasing obesity and diabetes in younger populations, clinicians may be more aggressive about recognizing risk factors for cardiovascular disease, like hypertension, and treating it," said Dr. Carol Horowitz, associate professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Although the news that she had high blood pressure was unexpected to Pessalano, the CDC report found that overall, people with high blood pressure have become more aware of the condition, which is something physicians say they've noticed in their own practices.

"[I]ndividuals are taking their own health issues more seriously and noticing the increased blood pressure readings," said Dr. R. Scott Wright, also a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio