It isn’t easy to be a heart patient, there are so many medication and lifestyle consideration to prevent further injury or illness.
Common heart medication interact with our foods and other medications. NSAIDS increase heart problems, Coumadin requires watching vitamin K, Grapefruit interacts with many heart medications, some diabetes medications increase heart risks, some heart medications increase risk for diabetes. Now we have a another to be concerned about. Here is a new advisory the combination of NSAIDS and hypertensive drugs. This is challenging as we encourage patients to exercise and often there are side effects of sore muscles and joints. Based on this the recommendation for sore muscles and joints should be to use ice and stretch…avoid the Motrin, Advil, Ibuprofin, Moabic, etc. The other challenge is to get the orthopedic physician and the cardiologist to work together to prescribe the safest medication regiment for you. Most importantly do not stop your anti-hypertensive medications without first consulting your physician, sudden withdrawal can be very problematic.
Adding a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to dual antihypert ensive therapy (a diuretic plus either an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker) is associated with an increase in risk for kidney injury, according to a large new retrospective study published inBMJ.
Adding a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to dual antihypertensive therapy (a diuretic plus either an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker) is associated with an increase in risk for kidney injury, according to a large new retrospective study published in BMJ.
Analyzing data from nearly half a million people taking antihypertensive drugs, researchers found 2,215 cases of acute kidney injury after a mean followup of 5.9 years. People on dual therapy were not at increased risk for acute kidney injury. However, when NSAID use was added to dual therapy, there was a modest but significant increase in risk (rate ratio 1.31, CI 1.12- 1.53). The increase in risk was highest in the first month of treatment.
The authors concluded that “increased vigilance may be warranted when” NSAIDs are used with dual antihypertensive therapy, especially in the early treatment period.
In an accompanying editorial, Dorothea Nitsch and Laurie A Tomlinson write that the safety of dual therapy still remains to be demonstrated and that the study likely “underestimates the true burden of drug associated acute kidney injury” in patients taking antihypertensive therapy and NSAIDs. Physicians should inform patients taking antihypertensive therapy about the possible risks of NSAID use and should ”be vigilant for signs of drug associated acute kidney injury in all patients.”
Here is the BMJ press release:
Triple mix of blood pressure drugs and painkillers linked to kidney problems
Absolute risk still low, but doctors and patients should be vigilant
Research: Concurrent use of diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and risk of acute kidney injury: nested case-control study
Editorial: Safety of co-prescribing NSAIDs with multiple antihypertensive agents
Patients who take a triple combination of blood pressure drugs and common painkillers are at an increased risk of serious kidney problems, especially at the start of treatment, finds a study published on bmj.com today.
Although the absolute risk for individuals is low, it is still something doctors and patients should be aware of, say the researchers.
Acute kidney injury (also known as kidney failure) is a major public health concern. It occurs in more than 20% of hospital inpatients and is associated with around half of all potentially preventable deaths in hospital. It is often triggered by adverse reactions to drugs, but little is known about the safety of different drug combinations.
So a team of researchers from the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, Canada, set out to assess whether certain combinations of drugs to lower blood pressure (antihypertensive drugs) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are linked to an increased risk of kidney injury.
These drugs are commonly prescribed together, particularly in elderly people with several long term conditions.
Using the world’s largest computerised database of primary care records (CPRD), they identified 487,372 people who received antihypertensive drugs between 1997 and 2008. Drugs included angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and diuretics, with NSAIDs.
Patients were tracked for nearly six years, during which time 2,215 were diagnosed with acute kidney injury that prompted admission to hospital or dialysis (7 in 10,000 person years).
The results show that patients taking a double therapy combination of either a diuretic or an ACE inhibitors or ARB with an NSAID were at no increased risk of kidney injury. However, a triple therapy combination of a diuretic with an ACE inhibitor or ARB and an NSAID was associated with a 31% higher rate of kidney injury, particularly elevated in the first 30 days of treatment during which it was 82% higher.
These results remained consistent after adjusting for confounding factors and controlling for other potential sources of bias.
The authors conclude that, “although antihypertensive drugs have cardiovascular benefits, vigilance may be warranted when they are used concurrently with NSAIDs.” They add: “In particular, major attention should be paid early in the course of treatment, and a more appropriate choice among the available anti-inflammatory or analgesic drugs could therefore be applied in clinical practice.”
In an accompanying editorial, researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say this study “is an important step in the right direction” but “probably underestimates the true burden of drug associated acute kidney injury.”
They suggest that clinicians advise patients of the risks and be vigilant for drug associated acute kidney injury, and say “the jury is still out on whether double drug combinations are indeed safe.”
How Sodium causes fluid retention
The job of the kidneys is to filter the excess sodium into the urine so that the body can get rid of it. Many with heart disease and diabetes kidneys cannot handle all the extra work. The kidneys become less efficient at filtering the blood stream. This causes excess sodium to enter the bloodstream. Sodium attracts water to it and effect known as being osmotic. Water follows the sodium and is drawn into the bloodstream. Excessive salt keeps the circulatory volume higher than it should be, creating and increased pressure in the blood stream and pressing on the blood vessel walls. The stress of the pressure on the walls creates thickening and narrowing of the vessel, leaving less space for the fluid in the blood vessels and raising resistance. The body then requires higher pressure to move blood to the organs. The heart has to pump against this high pressure system.
I equate it to trying to blow up one of those kids balloons that is turned into animal shapes. They are really tough to blow air into, your cheeks get really sore – this is the resistance of air, similar to the resistance pressure of blood in the arteries. If you stretch the balloon (relax the arteries) then there is less resistance in blowing up the balloon (filling the artery with blood). Twenty percent of the blood pumped from the heart goes first to the kidneys. High blood pressure within the kidneys cause damage to the heart and to the vascular system in the kidneys. Salt makes you thirsty so limit salty foods, especially if on a fluid restriction.
I once had a patient who lost 45 lbs simply from adhering to low sodium diet. He had a very weak heart with only 10% ejection fraction meaning very limited pumping ability. So a weak heart and sodium in the diet made him retain fluid more than most. He began to measure and count sodium with every meal for a few months and was shocked by how much sodium he consumed even though he thought he ate pretty healthy. By reading labels, doing the math every day and making changes such as eating out less, ordering special, reviewing his medication he lost the fluid and added years to his life, not to mention the improved quality of life with less shortness of breath and fatigue by easing the workload of the heart.
According to the American Heart Association, eating more than the recommended 1500 milligrams a day puts you at direct risk of high blood pressure. Yet in America we consume an average of 3400 milligrams a day; more than twice what we should. While people with hypertension, heart and kidney disease are always advised by doctors to eat less salt, the AHA wants all of us to do this, whether or not our blood pressure is currently in the normal range. So if you are cooking or know the cook for pass this info on!
When holiday meal are upon us remind heart patients of being acutely aware of the sodium content in foods. The holiday meal contributes to many heart patients having increased symptoms of high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, fluid retention, shortness of breath. The holiday meals can be the culprit. Traditional foods like the turkey are often injected with approximately 8% solution sodium to enhance moistness and flavor. If you read the ingredients you will often note: turkey broth, salt, sodium phosphates, sugar & flavoring. Then many a cook will soak the already salt injected turkey in a brine solution or salt it well, prior to cooking. The turkey alone gets many into trouble, then you add pre-packaged stuffing, broth, or use canned mushroom soups in casseroles. Did I mention the relish tray with pickled foods?
A little extra salt in or on your holiday foods makes a difference.
1 teaspoon salt = 2131 mg sodium 1/2 teaspoon salt = 1066 mg sodium
1/4 teaspoon salt = 533 mg sodium 1/8 teaspoon salt = 266 mg sodium
75 mg—the average sodium content of 3 ounces fresh, unsalted beef, turkey, chicken, pork
240 mg sodium in 3 ounces self-basting frozen turkey, cooked (that’s without the gravy!)
580 mg sodium in 3 ounces frozen fully cooked baked turkey
820 mg sodium in 3 ounces honey baked ham
Bread is a major sodium contributor if you eat more than a couple of pieces a day unless you buy special low sodium bread. A slice (1 ounce) of loaf bread has 150 to 200 mg sodium—not including salted butter or other spreads or toppings. Consider using a bread maker to make a low sodium recipe.
Skip the gravy! But if you must go for low or reduced sodium gravy instead of regular salted gravy which has more than 300 mg sodium for 1/4 cup.
Measurements and labels of sodium
- 1/4 teaspoon salt= 600 mg sodium
- 1/2 teaspoon salt= 1,200 mg sodium
- 3/4 teaspoon salt=1,800 mg sodium
- 1 teaspoon salt= 2,300 mg sodium
- 1 teaspoon baking soda =1,000 mg sodium
- Sodium-free: Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving
- Very low-sodium: 35 milligrams or less per serving
- Low-sodium: Less than 140 milligrams per serving
- Reduced sodium: Sodium level reduced by 25%
- Unsalted, no salt added, or without added salt: Made without the salt that’s normally used, but still contains the sodium that’s a natural part of the food itself.
Names for salt
- sodium alginate
- sodium ascorbate
- sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
- sodium benzoate
- sodium caseinate
- sodium chloride
- sodium citrate
- sodium hydroxide
- sodium saccharin
- sodium stearoyl lactylate
- sodium sulfite
- disodium phosphate
- monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- trisodium phosphate
Some drugs contain high amounts of sodium.
Need an antacid after that holiday meal? Watch out there is excess sodium there too. Carefully read the labels on all over-the-counter drugs. Look at the ingredient list and warning statement to see if the product has sodium. A statement of sodium content must be on labels of antacids that have 5 mg or more per dosage unit (tablet, teaspoon, etc.). Some companies are now producing low-sodium over-the-counter products. If in doubt, ask your healthcare practitioner or pharmacist if the drug is OK for you.
If you are a heart patient you might be concerned about how the cold weather affects your heart. The body constricts blood flow to the skin to conserve heat, which also raises blood pressure. Many experience angina when active in cold weather.
Advice for how to manage angina related to cold includes:
- Do a warm up indoors to dilate the blood vessels and get heart rate slightly elevated before outdoor exertion
- Create a zone of warmer air to breath by using a scarf, mask or parka
- Discuss using nitroglycerine before activity with your healthcare practitioner. Using the nitro to dilate the vessels prior to cold air exposure is a method used by some.
- Avoid large meals and alcohol before exerting outdoors. Blood flow gets diverted and doesn’t go to the heart or exercising muscles instead it works to digest the food.
Snow Shoveling for Heart Patients
- Warm up, do some light exertion to dilate the blood vessels and get the heart rate slightly elevated before really “digging out”
- Dress appropriately in layers, when you feel warm take layers off. Preventing overheating from being overdressed is as important as dressing for the cold. Your heart works harder to cool your body down. Sweating excessively will lead to being cold later.
- Do not eat a large meal or smoke prior to shoveling, these divert the blood flow away from the heart and exercising muscles.
- Push the snow don’t lift if you can.
- Exhale on Exertion. Breath out when pushing or lifting, don’t hold your breath!!!! Holding breath increases blood pressure even further than the cold and exercise already has.
- Switch sides keep alternating the shovel in left and right hand. The constant twist to one side produces muscle injury and can be hard to distinguish between muscles and heart. Muscle pain can reproduced with touch or movement, where as heart pain cannot be set of by touch.
- Take breaks, listen to your body don’t over do it. The body constricts blood flow to the skin to conserve heat, which also raises blood pressure.
- Stay fit enough to shovel snow. If you don’t exercise regularly you are not strong enough to shovel wet heavy snow. The cardiovascular demands are even more due to excessive cold temperatures. Train for snow shoveling by performing aerobic exercise and resistance training.
- If you have symptoms STOP
Dealing with Raynauds in the cold weather
Raynaud’s occurs when the fingers and/or toes come into contact with cold. Beta blockers medications actually can aggravate Raynaud’s by leading to increased blood vessel spasm. This class of drugs, used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease, includes metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard) and propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL). It is important to cover your feet and hands before they get cold with warm gloves and socks. Make sure they are not too tight allow for circulation. Prevent the symptoms by creating a barrier between your skin and the cold. Even if you are only going out for a short while keep your fingers covered and wear warm foot protection. Frostbite occurs much quicker in persons with Raynaud’s.
Atrial Fibrillation is more common in Winter
The likelihood of being admitted to hospital or dying with atrial fibrillation, a life-threatening chaotic heartbeat common among the elderly, increases dramatically during winter months. Atrial Fibrillation is common in persons with heart disease. Be alert for symptoms of irregular heart rhythm, increased shortness of breath, increased fatigue. Additional factors contributing to the winter connection to atrial fibrillation may include drinking too much alcohol which leads to high blood pressure, heart failure, and possibly even stroke due to the atrial fibrillation.