Friday, August 07, 2015

Blood pressure and heart warning....

Today's Post:  Friday, 8-7-2015

There is a drug in extremely common use that Stanford researchers recently confirmed to help cause high blood pressure, artery damage, and heart disease.

You might take it or have it prescribed for you. 

I did.  In fact I took it long enough it may have caused me considerable harm despite the many things I did to do the opposite.  I’ve been taking this drug for 25 years! Or I had been.  I’ve stopped it totally now.

Prilosec, generic name omaprazole, does turn down stomach acid enough to avoid some pain from the reflux of stomach acid some people get. 

This class of drugs is called proton pump inhibitors.

Your body releases tiny amounts of nitric oxide to cause blood vessel relaxation.  Apparently too, if this does not happen or happen enough the insides of your blood vessels become damaged.  And, of course high blood pressure can and does happen in people where this nitric oxide release is impaired.

Stanford researchers recently found that taking proton pump inhibitors inhibits nitric oxide release and does cause endothelial damage and heart disease.

I’d heard somewhere this might be the case; but my doctor hadn’t seen any data. 

But then two things happened, the Stanford research was published and I saw it.  And, the researchers noted that H2 blockers also stopped excess acid but did NOT have this side effect.

(When I first heard the Prilosec might do this, I simply stopped taking it and found the side effects of no acid protection too harsh and had to resume taking it.)

And, when I started taking Prilosec, it was much more effective than taking H2 blockers.

But when I checked out H2 blockers after seeing the Stanford study, I found that Zantac, which was developed more recently, was as effective as the Prilosec!

So, now I knew that for sure Prilosec was causing my high blood pressure in part and might be damaging my heart and blood vessels too.  And, now there is an effective replacement that does not do so.

So, since that time, I now take Zantac for my acid reflux.  The Zantac does seem to be as effective as the Prilosec was for the acid reflux.

Why is this blog post a warning?  Because I may have some partially blocked arteries to my heart because of this effect and the many years I took Prilosec.

So to avoid that happening to you, it looks likely that you should not take proton pump inhibitors longer than a few weeks.

If you can take Zantac instead even for short term use -- or if you need the acid reduction longer than a few weeks, the research found it will be MUCH safer for you to take Zantac and to discontinue the proton pump inhibitors!

In my case, I’m so glad I’ve been doing enough effective things to protect my heart.  It seems I may have prevented enough damage to avoid much more serious heart problems.

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