Webmd recently posted an article associating the risk of common pain drugs to cardiovascular death. The original study, published by Circulation on June 8th, 2010, consisted of following 4,614,807 healthy Danish individuals from January 1997 to 2005. After controlling for various confounding factors, 1, 2038, 437 individuals who used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including diclofenac, and the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, rofecoxib, were included.
The results of this study indicated that the use of diclofenac and rofecoxib increased the risk of cardiovascular death, in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, an increased risk of stroke was found in those who used ibuprofen. Although one drug, naproxen, did not seem increase cardiovascular risk in this study, webmd cautioned that all NSAIDs are associated with an increased the risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.
This association between the use of pain medications and heart mortality risk is not new. In a 2000 article from the Archives of Internal Medicine, the risk for congestive heart failure increased in elderly patients who had taken various NSAIDs (excluding aspirin), prior to hospital admission. The author’s concluded, “The burden of illness resulting from NSAID-related CHF may exceed that resulting from gastrointestinal tract damage. NSAIDs should be used with caution in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.”
Now, this recent evidence is showing this may even be true for healthy individuals.
Interestingly enough, in my recent presentation to doctors on high blood pressure, I came across an article on resistant hypertension published in the journal, Hypertension.This article listed various drugs as contributing factors to elevated blood pressure, NSAIDs were among these. Due to the fact that hypertension can lead to pathologies of the heart, these findings are not surprising.
OK, enough with the scary stuff!
Here are some empowering ways to protect your heart and decrease pain at the same time:
1. Control Insulin:
Research has linked diabetes and insulin to hypertension, inflammation, and heart disease. One of the best ways to control blood sugar is diet. Eat a whole foods diet consisting of unprocessed foods. Make sure you are balancing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats with nutrient dense, phytonutrients. These phytonutrients can calm inflammation and are potent disease fighters. (Examples include green leafy vegetables and berries).
Exercise not only increases insulin sensitivity but has benefits for all your organ systems.
3. Control inflammation:
Inflammation can lead to pain and increase the risk of damage to the blood vessels. Various supplements such as Vitamin D, fish oil, essential oils, and herbals can be used to tone down inflammation.
4. Stress relief
Mind-body techniques can reduce stress, calming down stress hormones which can aid in lowering blood pressure and blood sugar.
5. Keep your Mouth Happy (slideshow)
6. See an integrative practicioner that can get to the root cause of any re-occurring issue.
For other heart healthy tips, see my past blogs on saratoga.com or at my website at dr-lobisco.com.
Webmd. Common Painkillers Raise Heart Death Risk. June 15, 2010.
Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2010. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.109.861104
Arch Intern Med. 2000 Mar 27;160(6):777-84. [abstract]