Sunday, June 15, 2008

Message from Your Heart

In the wake of the sudden death of Tim Russert from a heart attack, Newsweek published this article on the causes of sudden cardiac arrest. If you are a male between the ages of 58 and 62, then you should read it. Although what the article says is that there is no way for your doctor to conclusively predict such an attack.

The article does say that Tim suffered diabetes and some form of heart disease and was on medication, but does not give any details. A typical MSM article - all fluff and no content. Unlike Russert himself, who could generate headlines on Sunday morning's Meet The Press.

The article is full of the fashionable advice that you might hear on a weekday morning talk show like take statins, take aspirin, or get a home defibrillator. Just the sort of advice that turns out to be questionable or outright wrong in a few years. Like the popular advice to take Vioxx or Celebrex for arthritis. Not only did it turn out that these drugs were no more effective than over the counter alternatives like ibuprofen, they actually were linked to of all things heart attacks as discussed in this article.

Vioxx (rofecoxib) is one of the new class of anti-arthritis drugs called the Cox 2 inhibitors. They hit the market in Australia with great fanfare about five years ago. The other big seller in this class of drugs is Celebrex (celecoxib), manufactured by Pfizer.

The major selling point of these drugs was that they were supposed to have fewer side effects – especially gastrointestinal side effects like gastric bleeding and ulcers - than older types of anti-arthritis drugs on the market.

On the back of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign aimed at doctors, sales skyrocketed. At the time of the Vioxx recall, roughly 300,000 Australians were on Vioxx and a similar number on Celebrex.

But in the US doctors had known there were problems with Vioxx since March 2000, when a major study showed an increased risk of heart attacks in people taking the drug.

I highly recommend reading the full article. It's short but makes the point that pharmaceutical companies are much more interested in profits than the health of patients. Just makes you wonder if the medication that Tim was taking to prevent heart attacks may have been a contributing factor.

Personally, my suggestion is to take Fish Oil supplements. They are natural, inexpensive and available without a prescription. There are no side effects. It is 100% safe. Here's an article from the NY Times from 2006 on the subject.

Every patient in the cardiac care unit at the San Filippo Neri Hospital who survives a heart attack goes home with a prescription for purified fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids.

“It is clearly recommended in international guidelines,” said Dr. Massimo Santini, the hospital’s chief of cardiology, who added that it would be considered tantamount to malpractice in Italy to omit the drug.

In a large number of studies, prescription fish oil has been shown to improve survival after heart attacks and to reduce fatal heart rhythms. The American College of Cardiology recently strengthened its position on the medical benefit of fish oil, although some critics say that studies have not defined the magnitude of the effect.

But in the United States, heart attack victims are not generally given omega-3 fatty acids, even as they are routinely offered more expensive and invasive treatments, like pills to lower cholesterol or implantable defibrillators. Prescription fish oil, sold under the brand name Omacor, is not even approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in heart patients.

I was 100% in agreement until I read that last line about "prescription fish oil". Huh? Should I take that with FDA approved prescription water?

Message from your heart
by Kina Grannis

This is a message from your heart
Your most devoted body part
Taking blood and making art
This is a message from your heart
Pounding away into the dark
You could thank me for a start
This is a message from your heart

Happy Father's Day Tim, wherever you are. We miss you this Sunday morning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tim Russert and George Carlin

Two beloved American celebrities have succumbed to heart disease before their time. The national response has been disappointment in a medical system that could allow this to happen. What could have been done differently to save the lives of both Tim and George, to avoid this fatal outcome?

To read more...Saving Tim Russert and George Carlin by Jeffrey Dach MD

Jeffrey Dach MD
4700 Sheridan Suite T
Hollywood FL 33021
my web site