death risk

  1. The secret side effects of common meds

    What you don't know about your drugs can hurt you

    The average drug lists 70 "official" side effects these days -- and you'd need a magnifying glass, a medical dictionary, and a lot of free time if you ever wanted to read them all.

    And if nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, "an unusual urge to gamble" (actual drug side effect), and 66 other possibilities aren't exciting enough, I've got news for you: That's barely the opening chapter.

    The average prescription med actually offers FIVE TIMES MORE side effects than what's on the label, according to a new analysis.

    How's THAT for exciting?

    Stanford University School of Medicine researchers created a computer program to sift through more than 4 million side effects on 1,332 common meds reported to the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System database.

    In other words, it used information the government already has... but doesn't actually know what to do with. (Not that that's a surprise!)

    This program didn't just spit out every side effect. It didn't even take it on faith that all 4 million reports were caused by the drugs themselves.

    Instead, it grouped the patients reporting those side effects together based on things like lifestyle and medical history, and then used that information to spot trends -- in other words, REAL side effects.

    It didn't just find a few more here and there. It found an average of 329 new side effects for EACH of the 1,332 drugs under study -- and that's in addition to the 70 "official" side effects.

    That alone is enough for a day's work, even for a computer... but the machine didn't stop there.

    It also picked up on 1,301 new drug interactions among people taking more than one med at a time -- including a previously unreported death risk for anyone unlucky enough to mix SSRI antidepressants with common BP meds.

    Of course, if you're on prescription meds, you've probably already learned the hard way that side effects aren't limited to what's on the label. And if you haven't, here's your chance: Quit while you're ahead.

  2. Cut your death risk in half with this simple procedure

    Colon screenings proven to save lives

    If you want to save your life, save your butt first.

    Colonoscopies are the only cancer screenings I stand behind, and that's because they can do something all the PSA tests and mammograms in the world can't.

    They can save lives, including yours, with new research now showing the procedure can chop your death risk in HALF.

    Researchers from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City tracked 2,602 patients who had polyps removed during colonoscopies. Over a follow-up period of up to 20 years, there were just 12 colorectal cancer deaths in that group.

    This is nothing short of miraculous, because cancer stats tell us that a group this size should have least 25 deaths from colon cancer.

    That's a difference of 53 percent. Looked at another way, NOT getting scoped will double your risk of dying of the disease.

    But is this really a surprise to anyone? It's downright obvious why colonoscopies work so well: It's the only screening that gives docs the power to detect and remove cancers at the same time.

    It comes with minimal risk, almost no side effects and you can be done before lunch.

    But despite the fact that this is one of the easiest ways to save your life, I can hear some of you screaming at your computer screens right now.

    "You want me to let a doctor stick WHAT up where?!"

    All I can say is, get over it. Your life is on the line here.

    Find a good gastroenterologist, and by that I don't mean the one with the biggest ad in the phonebook. Get a recommendation from someone you trust, and then ask the doctor how often he detects polyps.

    Don't be shy about this. A good doc will be ready for the question and armed with an answer -- and a good doc will be in line with national averages, which means he should find polyps in roughly 15 percent of women and 25 percent of men.

    Then, schedule your appointment for first thing in the morning. Studies have shown docs detect more polyps earlier in the day -- and since each polyp is a potential cancer, you want to make sure he spots every last one.

    Still reading? Stop here -- get on the horn and get started. It's not just your butt that's on the line.

  3. Shaking up conventional wisdom

    You've heard me say for years that salt isn't your enemy and that cutting back won't lower your heart risk OR save your life -- and now, the mainstream is finally catching on.
  4. Common meds raise death risk

    It's the study every senior on the planet needs to see right now: Some of the world's most common drugs can dramatically boost your risk of an early death when taken together.

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