High Blood Pressure Risks

End-of-Life Decisions Knee Osteoarthritis Sufferers Smart Snacking Healthful Eating Diabetes Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Lung Cancer Survivors

Cold/Flu Meds Pose Risks For High Blood Pressure

(NAPSI)—If you have high blood pressure and purchase an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, you may be getting more than you bargained for.

That’s the word from experts who caution that some medications taken over the counter can have a negative impact on blood pressure.

If patients are unknowingly taking medications that elevate blood pressure, it could undermine efforts to keep blood pressure in a safe range.

The First Step

Willie E. Lawrence, Jr., M.D., a spokesman for the American Heart Association and chief of cardiology at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, said the first step is for people with high blood pressure to know which products could cause variations in blood pressure. Cold medicines, painkillers and energy pills or drinks are a few products to watch out for if you have high blood pressure.

“Patients should be aware of the list of things that we know can cause an elevation in blood pressure,” Dr. Lawrence said. He advised that these products should be avoided, used with caution, used only for a short amount of time or used after a discussion with a medical professional.

Tips On Using OTCs

People with hypertension should educate themselves before mixing their high blood pressure medication with over-the-counter medicines. Some things to consider include:

• Chat with a doctor. Lawrence cautions that people who have high blood pressure need to tell their doctors about any over-the-counter medicine they are taking or have taken recently.

• Be a label reader. Medication labels should be scrutinized as thoroughly as food labels. Patients should use increased vigilance in cooler months because when temperatures drop, colds become more common.

Look for cold medicines labeled as safe for people with high blood pressure. Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine, which may increase blood pressure, are key ingredients to avoid.

• Skip the salt. A top ingredient to avoid in medications, as in food, is salt, which may increase blood pressure due to fluid retention. On the ingredient label, it may be listed as “salt,” “sodium” or “soda.”

• Avoid highly caffeinated products. Caffeine raises blood pressure and impacts heart rate. According to Dr. Lawrence, this effect is especially intense if you’re not used to it. He recommends that people with high blood pressure avoid high-caffeine energy drinks.

• Ask before using painkillers. Patients should also use caution and speak to their doctors before using common painkillers, such as the class of drugs known as NSAIDs, which stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

This class includes prescribed medicines as well as over-the-counter aspirin, Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen). NSAIDs are associated with increased risks for people with heart disease and its risk factors. In addition, “These medicines may raise blood pressure a little and at higher doses they can damage the kidneys,” Dr. Lawrence said. Since high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, that makes adding NSAIDs a bigger health risk.

• Know the numbers. Those with moderately elevated or high blood pressure should monitor it regularly, particularly when taking new medications.

“People taking medicines in these classes should be monitoring their blood pressure at home to make certain it is staying within the range recommended by their doctor,” Dr. Lawrence said. “If it increases excessively and is consistently over 140/90, then they need to speak to their doctor.”

Learn more online at Merck Consumer Care, maker of Coricidin® HBP, is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website.

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It May Be Time To Have “The Talk” (Not That One)

(NAPSI)—If your family is among the approximately 80 million Americans currently avoiding the end-of-life discussion with their aging parents, you may want to rethink that. A conversation about end-of-life wishes can save families years of heartache, bickering and even legal issues.

The Problem

Nevertheless, millions are actively avoiding it, according to a recent Marist survey. Citing being uncomfortable and procrastination as the top two reasons families aren’t having these conversations, survey respondents also indicated fear that their families could have problems in the future due to lack of communication about topics such as finances and health.

Other research shows nearly a third of baby boomers said their biggest communication obstacle with aging parents is the continuation of the parent-child roles that emerged in childhood, making discussion of sensitive issues even more difficult. In fact, finances, living preferences and driving are the three least talked about topics between surveyed adult children and their aging parents.

Unfortunately, further research indicates that 70 percent of conversations happen too late, being initiated by an event such as a health crisis or other emergency, which can increase the likelihood of family disputes. According to surveyed attorneys, two-thirds of these disputes that end up in court could have been avoided if end-of-life wishes were communicated and documented in advance.

Some Solutions

Given the severe consequences of waiting too long to have this critical conversation, if your parents are approaching 70 and you are approaching 40, you should have “the talk” about critical aging issues. It’s what’s known as the “40-70 Rule.”

To help, Home Instead, Inc. gathered renowned experts to help make this potentially difficult conversation easier for families and created the “40-70 Rule” program, including An Action Plan for Successful Aging. The Home Instead Senior Care network is the world’s leading provider of in-home care services for seniors.

Free Information

Resources, including videos, conversation starters and aging plans, are now available at to help jump-start that dialogue.

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New Survey Reveals Knee Osteoarthritis Sufferers Make Daily Accommodations To Avoid Pain, Without Fully Realizing Its Effect On Physical And Social Activities

(NAPSI)—It started with working fewer hours, staying home more and avoiding favorite pastimes like gardening and spending time with her family, including her grandchildren—anything to reduce the pain in her knees.

These are just a few of the ways in which Rebecca Von Eiff, who suffered for years with painful knee osteoarthritis (OA), accommodated her life because of OA. And, according to the results of a recent survey, she's not alone.

The survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of DePuy Synthes Companies polled 668 U.S. adults aged 45 to 75 who have been diagnosed with OA, experience moderate to severe knee pain and have not had knee joint replacement. The survey found that more than half of respondents reported that, at least quite a bit of the time, they:

• Avoid an activity that requires a great deal of walking (57 percent)

• Avoid an activity that requires a great deal of standing (59 percent)

• Avoid an activity that requires going up or down stairs (52 percent).

"Finding ways to get through everyday life with minimal pain consumed me," remembered Rebecca. "I was prescribed medication to help with the OA pain and then began getting cortisone shots regularly. Although these remedies helped some, the effect eventually wore off."

As an interior designer, Rebecca, 68, was used to being active during the day; but knee pain caused her to begin sitting on the arm of a couch to take the pressure off her knees and that grew into scheduling shorter visits to the design center to pick up samples. Everyday activities, like gardening in her backyard, walking to get the mail at the end of her driveway or getting in and out of her car while running errands, became more and more difficult.

"I finally decided enough was enough when the pain started limiting my interaction with my entire family," said Rebecca. "I couldn't enjoy activities during family vacations and I went to my doctor and said 'I just want my life back'."

Rebecca and her orthopaedic surgeon decided that having her knees replaced with the ATTUNE® Knee System, which was specifically designed to work in harmony with the body to provide full range of motion and optimize stability, was the best option for her. After surgery, Rebecca participated in rehabilitation and worked with Christina Lewis, physical therapist and director at Townson Sports Medicine in Baltimore, Md. Christina incorporated everyday activities into Rebecca's therapy, which helped her get back to her life sooner, and helped her return to work in just six weeks.

"During rehabilitation, the focus is on increasing range of motion and stability, and getting the patient back to everyday life," said Christina.

Following her hard work to recovery, Rebecca is now back to doing the things she loves like gardening, interior design work and being active with her family, including her grandchildren.

"My advice to others is to not wait for the pain to get so bad that you stop living your life," said Rebecca. "Talk to your doctor about treatment options. Joint replacement has made such a difference for me."

To find out more about the ATTUNE Knee System or to find a surgeon near you, please visit

Important Safety Information: The performance of knee replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have knee replacement surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can determine if knee replacement is required based on an individual patient's condition.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of DePuy Synthes Companies between July 25 and August 19, 2014 among 1,087 U.S. adults ages 45-75 who have not been diagnosed with osteoarthritis; 1,024 U.S. adults ages 45-75 who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, experience OA in their knees and/or hips, and have not had joint replacement surgery (including 668 who experience moderate to severe knee pain); and, 515 U.S. adults ages 45-75 who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, experience OA in their knees and/or hips, have had a knee and/or hip joint replacement, and do not currently experience severe pain in other joints (including 357 who have had knee replacement surgery). For complete research method, including weighting variables, please contact Deanna Ashikyan: 310-309-1018.

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Smart Snacking The Right Whey

(NAPSI)—When trying to cut back on calories to lose weight, it’s common for many people to try to avoid snacking. But healthy snacking, especially with foods containing whey protein, is an important part of any diet and can actually assist with weight loss.

For many Americans, snacking is viewed as more vice than virtue. Guilty pleasure or not, munching in between meals continues to rise in the U.S. Snack industry sales are currently estimated at more than $40 billion annually and growing.

And daily snacking rates are way up, too. Just 20 years ago, 73 percent of adults snacked only once per day, if at all, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, more than two-thirds of Americans snack two or more times daily.

While more people than ever are doing it, snacking still gets a bad rap. Snacking on fatty, high-calorie food isn’t going to help people lose weight, gain muscle or make them healthier, of course. But a growing body of evidence suggests that daily snacks with the right foods can actually be quite healthy.

This is particularly the case with nutrient-packed snacks that contain whey protein. In between balanced meals, these foods can actually help achieve weight loss goals. They do so by stimulating metabolism and satisfying hunger. This in turn helps reduce the temptation of eating too much.

“Snacking can actually be very good for you,” says registered dietitian and nutritional counselor Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD. “And snacks packed with whey protein are particularly effective as a healthy option to curb pesky hunger pangs.”

Many nutritional research studies lend credence to this claim. For example, a recent University of Missouri study suggests that when compared to high-fat options, high-protein snacks have a better effect on appetite control and feeling satisfied or full, which can help reduce subsequent food intake.

So when it comes to smart snacking, there is definitely a right “whey” to go.

“All of this is good news for the vast majority of us who are snackers,” said Suk Cho, Ph.D. and Chief Science Officer with Isagenix, a multinational provider of health and wellness products and solutions for weight loss, energy and performance, and healthy aging.

“When hunger hits between meals, choosing the right, nutrient-dense snacks with whey protein can be the difference between meeting weight loss goals and failing miserably because ravenous hunger takes over. And when that happens, overeating is often the result.”

There are great ways to choose whey protein-based snacks and recipes that provide maximum nutrition and minimum calories. One novel example is the new Isagenix Whey Thins. A 100-calorie pack contains a whopping 10 grams of protein from whey, and it comes in snacky flavors like sour cream and chive, and barbecue.

What one chooses to snack on throughout the day is just as important as what is eaten at mealtimes. Consuming snacks sensible in calories and packed with whey protein and other nutritious ingredients can help individuals achieve their weight loss goals and avoid nagging hunger throughout the day.

For more information about smart snacking with whey protein foods, and for healthy snack recipes, visit

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Healthful Eating While Living Away From Home

(NAPSI)—Being away on business or vacation can mean frequent unhealthy fast food or expensive restaurants but one clever cook has the perfect solution.

The winner of the national “Away From Home Cooking Recipe Contest,” Lauren Wyler, created a delicious travel-friendly one that can be made in Extended Stay America’s fully equipped hotel room kitchens. Chosen from entries from around the country, Lauren’s Baja Fish Taco Tortas were taste tested by Food Network host Sunny Anderson, who also creates recipes for the hotel chain’s “Away From Home Cooking” cookbook.

Baja Fish Taco Tortas with Smoky Cilantro Slaw
by Lauren Wyler


2 cups shredded cabbage mix

2 tablespoons ranch dressing

1 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce

¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pit removed

4 tablespoons salsa verde

1 lime

1 pound cod

1 teaspoon cumin

4 torta or bolillo rolls, split in half

2 tablespoons oil

1¼ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon pepper


1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, ranch dressing, hot sauce, chopped cilantro and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir until the slaw is well mixed.

2. In a small bowl, place the peeled avocado, salsa verde and ¼ teaspoon salt. Using a fork, roughly mash and mix together.

3. Cut the lime in half. Take one of the halves and cut it into wedges to serve with the finished tortas.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. While the pan is heating, sprinkle the cod with the cumin, ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. When the oil is hot, add the fish to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Flip the fish and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is opaque. Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze the half of lime over the fish.

5. To assemble, place the halved torta rolls on each plate. Spread each of the torta bottoms evenly with the avocado spread, divide the fish evenly between each and then top each with the slaw. Serve with lime wedges.

Learn More

To view full recipes as well as obtain money-saving grocery tips, visit

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Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes

By Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D.,
M.A.C.P., director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

(NAPSI)—Here’s what we know: more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010. We also know that one in four people with diabetes is unaware that he or she has the disease. If left undiagnosed or un treated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. That’s why the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), a joint program of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wants people with diabetes to understand that having diabetes increases their chances for heart disease.

The good news is that people with diabetes can lower their chances of having diabetes-related heart problems by managing their Diabetes ABCs. These include:

• A for the A1C test (A-one-C). This is a blood test that measures a person’s average blood sugar (glucose) level over the past three months.

• B for Blood pressure.

• C for Cholesterol.

• S for Stop smoking. If you do smoke, you can call 1-800-QUITNOW for free assistance.

If you have diabetes, your ABC goals will depend on how long you have had the disease and any other health problems you may have. The important message to remember is that taking care of your diabetes can also help you take care of your heart. Simply put, we want you to Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes.

So what can you do if you have diabetes? Talk to your doctor and develop an action plan that is right for you. Here are key points to remember, as well as some questions to ask your doctor:

• Goals for blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol are different for each person and should be based on your diabetes and health status.

• Ask your doctor:

- What are my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers?

- What should they be?

- What actions can I take to reach my ABC goals?

• Your action plan should also include weight management through healthy eating, regular activity, and taking medications as prescribed.

We also know that 86 million Americans (more than one in three U.S. adults) have prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal—but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Having prediabetes puts you at high risk for type 2 diabetes. It also puts you at risk for a heart attack and stroke. If you have prediabetes, research has shown that you can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by making simple but important lifestyle changes. For instance, losing just 7 percent of your body weight (which is about 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and being more physically active by walking 30 minutes a day for at least five days a week can reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by more than half (58 percent).

Whether you have diabetes or prediabetes, there are similar lifestyle changes that can go a long way to prevent or delay health problems. For example:

• Choose healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken and turkey without the skin, dry beans and peas, whole grains, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.

• Drink water instead of juices or sodas.

• When eating a meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables; one quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, or chicken or turkey without the skin; and one quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

• Every day, write down what you eat and drink and the number of minutes you are active.

• Review your meal and activity plans every day. This will help you reach your goals.

The National Diabetes Education Program offers many re sources to help people with diabetes take important steps to stay healthy and prevent diabetes-related heart problems. Please visit

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Watch For Warning Signs Of Alzheimer’s During The Holidays

(NAPSI)—The holiday season can be an especially important time of year to take a closer look at the physical and cognitive health of family and friends.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, spending time with friends and family members who may not see each other regularly throughout the year provides a great opportunity for a fresh perspective on health and behavior changes.

Cognitive changes can occur with age; however, memory problems that impact daily living are not a part of typical aging. Recognizing the differences between normal aging and potentially more serious problems can help to identify when it may be time to see a doctor.

Know The 10 Warning Signs

An important part of an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis is spotting warning signs and bringing them to the attention of a medical professional. Individuals may experience one or more of these signs:

• Memory loss that disrupts daily life

• Challenges in planning or solving problems

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure

• Confusion with time or place

• Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

• New problems with words in speaking or writing

• Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

• Decreased or poor judgment

• Withdrawal from work or social activities

• Changes in mood and personality.

If you notice any of these signs in yourself, a family member or a friend, visit your doctor.

Early Diagnosis Is Key

Noticing these signs and seeing your physician may allow for an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. This is an important step in getting appropriate treatment, care and support services. Once diagnosed, individuals living with the disease can benefit from treatments that may improve symptoms and help them maintain a level of independence longer.

An early diagnosis also affords more time to plan for the future and participate in care decisions. Some individuals may even choose to sign up for and participate in a clinical study through Alzheimer’s Association TrialMatch—a free, easy-to-use matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current studies.

A Helpful Resource

Anyone with questions about Alzheimer’s disease or seeking information, including the 10 Warning Signs, clinical studies and resources, can contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 toll-free Helpline at (800) 272-3900 or visit

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Lung Cancer Survivors

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