Over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements and their effect on lab test results

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and dietary supplements are widely used and popular, with US households spending an average of almost USD 350 annually on OTC products. In 2006 an average of EUR 67.50 was spent per person on OTC products in Germany.

The use of various OTC drugs and dietary supplements is highly prevalent in Europe and patients are often not willing to disclose this information to laboratory staff and the ordering physician as a survey published in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, published by De Gruyter in association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM), shows.

The study reports on the results of a survey of patients in 18 European countries which shows that those taking OTC products and dietary supplements are not aware of the potential effects on laboratory test results they may have. In addition, patients do not believe that they need to disclose this use to medical and/or laboratory staff.

The study shows that dietary supplements and OTC drugs are more frequently used by middle-aged patients – especially women – with the most common being multivitamins, multiminerals, cranberry and aspirin. All of these compounds, if consumed shortly before blood sampling, may cause changes in lab test results, thus leading to interpretation difficulties and possibly incorrect diagnoses.

Although more data is needed about the frequency of the consumption of various dietary products, vitamins or OTC drugs, the authors believe that a multifaceted approach is necessary to draw attention to the issue using educational interventions which target both healthcare professionals and patients.

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Older adults who get physical can lower their heart disease risk

Adults in their early 60s, who spend less time sitting and more time engaged in light to vigorous physical activity, benefit with healthier levels of heart and vessel disease markers, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The results from increased physical activity were found to be particularly good among women.

Physical inactivity is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disease and premature death from cardiovascular disease. Physical activity’s protective effect is likely due in part to its impact on biomarkers in the blood that help predict atherosclerosis risk.

“The 60 to 64 age range represents an important transition between work and retirement, when lifestyle behaviors tend to change,” said Ahmed Elhakeem, Ph.D., study author and senior research associate in epidemiology at Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. “It may, therefore, be an opportunity to promote increased physical activity.

“In addition, cardiovascular disease risk is higher in older adults. It’s important to understand how activity might influence risk in this age group,” Elhakeem said. “We found it’s important to replace time spent sedentary with any intensity level of activity.”

Researchers studied more than 1,600 British volunteers, age 60 to 64, who wore heart rate and movement sensors for five days. The sensors revealed not only how much physical activity, in general, they were doing, but also how much light physical activity, such as slow walking, stretching, golfing or gardening, versus moderate-to-vigorous activity, such as brisk walking, bicycling, dancing, tennis, squash, lawn mowing or vacuuming.

Researchers analyzed participants’ blood levels for markers of cardiovascular disease, including inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and interleukin 6 (IL-6); endothelial markers, tissue-plasminogen activator (t-PA), the molecule E-Selectin (a cell adhesion molecule that plays an important part in inflammation); and cholesterol markers leptin and adiponectin.

“We focused on these atherosclerosis biomarkers as they are less studied and have been shown to predict risk of cardiovascular events and death,” Elhakeem said.

Researchers found:

  • Each additional 10-minutes spent in moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity was associated with leptin levels that were 3.7 percent lower in men and 6.6 percent lower in women.
  • Each additional 10-minutes spent sedentary was associated with 0.6 percent higher IL-6 levels in men and 1.4 percent higher IL-6 levels in women.
  • Each additional 10-minutes spent in light intensity activity was associated with around 0.8% lower t-PA levels in both men and women.
  • Less sedentary time and greater time in low-intensity activity were beneficially related to IL-6 and t-PA, regardless of time spent at higher intensity activity.
  • Those with better cardiorespiratory fitness (based on an oxygen uptake step test) also had a healthier biomarker profile, though this effect largely disappeared after controlling for related differences in body fat.
  • Total activity volume appeared related to these biomarkers independently of underlying cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • E-selectin was the only biomarker which showed no notable associations with physical activity and sedentary time (but was related to fitness levels).

Based on the study’s findings, physical activity might lower cardiovascular disease risk by improving blood vessel function. Increased sedentary time may be adversely related to endothelial function, researchers said.

The study measured activity and biomarkers at the same time and didn’t establish whether activity influenced the biomarkers, or the biomarkers influenced activity, Elhakeem said.

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Heartbroken People Reveal The Last Thing Their Exes Ever Said To Them

Women and men from around the world have taken to Whisper, an anonymous secret sharing site, to reveal the last words their exes spoke to them.

Heartbreaking, harrowing and sometimes hilarious – the comments will no doubt take you back to your last break up.

“The last thing my ex husband told me is that I would have nothing without him. But after working hard for two years I will be signing the papers to my new house in a few hours. I’m proud.”

“The last time I saw my ex she came by to pick up one last thing and we talked about the break up. We both cried but knew it was for the best. She told me she still loves me. I still love her.”

“‘I will always love you no matter what. No matter the distance.’ The last thing my ex that I’m still in love with told me…”

“The last thing my ex told me: ‘Stop pretending we’re in a fairytale. We’re not.’”

“The last thing my ex told me was that I was the kind of girl that no one will ever fall in love with. I believe him.”

“The last thing my ex told me was, ‘You’re my first, and last girlfriend.’ Months after we broke up he got himself a boyfriend.”

“The last thing my ex told me was that I shouldn’t be in a relationship. Two years later I’m too terrified to love someone again.”

“The last thing my ex told me was that he never moved on from me. Then I got a call from his new GF that he’d apparently been dating for 6 months before we even broke up.”

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9 Women Share What Sex On Their Wedding Night Was Really Like

When you imagine your wedding night, you probably envision champagne and rose petals, steamy sex, and maybe even a bubble bath. But the reality is that it’s not always that romantic. Many brides are extremely exhausted, some are drunk, and some are just worn out from a long day. 

We asked nine women what their wedding nights were really like, and many were less than picture-perfect. But, hey, maybe it’s as Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw said after her best friend Charlotte’s disaster of a wedding: “The worse the wedding, the better the marriage.” Same goes for the wedding night.

RELATED: This Is the Number 1 Sign You’re in a Serious Relationship

THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW

“As much as I wanted to [have sex], we passed out. We were both exhausted from a really long day and it just didn’t happen. The night after our wedding, the sex was incredible but nothing happened the night of.” —Kristi, 33

UM, YOU STILL WITH ME?

“After endless travel delays and frustrations, we arrived at our small destination wedding nearly half a day after we had planned, meaning that we had to do all the legal legwork and last-minute details *literally* last minute in the 100-degree Las Vegas summer. By the time our wedding, the photos, and a small dinner reception were all over, we went back to the hotel utterly exhausted! I ducked into the bathroom to freshen up (remember 100-degree weather plus frantic stress sweat…) while my new husband sat to watch the Bellagio fountain dancing from our hotel window. I spent maybe 15 minutes in there and came out to find him sound asleep in the bed. So—no wedding night nookie for us.” —Liz, 38

LIFE OF THE PARTY

“We lived together before so it was not going to be a big deal, but the funny thing was I wanted my 82-year-old grandma with Alzheimer’s to be part of our wedding so we booked a hotel room near ours for her with my maid of honour, thinking she would be exhausted after the wedding [and] would sleep well. No. She was up wandering the halls. My maid of honour ended up helping put panty hose on her just up to her thighs so she could not really walk, or get up out of bed. The four of us were laughing so loudly, people probably thought we were really having some fun in our room, as we worked to put them on her. We ended up finally putting her between us so that she could not escape. It was not the wedding night of my dreams, but it is one part of my wedding day I will never forget. It is now a funny remembrance of her.” —Denise, 35

NOT IN THE CARDS

“We eloped and I got my period that day and was super bloated and not looking for much action. Also, we ate way too much at dinner and I fell asleep in a food coma while half giving him a hand job, but he passed out too so it was all good.” —Jenny, 27

NOTHING SEXY ABOUT IT

“We got married a couple years ago in a small civil ceremony at a historical estate. We walked around for an hour or so afterwards, taking photos as we strolled the beautiful lawns and gardens. Unfortunately, it had been very wet for the previous week and every biting midge and flea was out celebrating the warm sunshine. Turns out my flowy, empire-waist dress gave them a giant buffet tent to hang out in while they bit me along every elastic seam around my undergarments! Waist, hips, bra-line… and everything in between. I was covered in miserable, itchy welts by evening! Plus, we had family staying with us for that week, so even if I hadn’t been a gross, itchy [mess], we wouldn’t have gotten a moment of privacy, so perhaps those bites saved us from some embarrassment in the long run?” —Brandy, 37

SO THAT’S WHERE YOU WERE

“I was planning an out-of-town wedding and was traveling back and forth to meet with vendors often. By the time the wedding came, I was pretty stressed. It was an early ceremony (noon) follow directly by the reception and it was all over by 5 or 6 p.m. I was amazingly tired and sore.

“The wedding party, my groom, and I rode back to our hotel so we could change and head to a local place to unwind, grab some drinks, and continue celebrating. We got to our room, forgoing the ‘carry over the threshold’ thing, shut the door, and laughed and kissed. [Then I] went straight for the clothes I’d decided to wear out.

“I remember laughing and saying I was tired, and that we would have more time to enjoy ourselves later that night. It really hurt his feelings though, and then I felt pretty bad about not sliding directly into a more romantic frame of mind.

“He laid me across the bed, kissed me briefly, and we had the shortest, least romantic sex of our relationship up until that point. I remember laying there after, thinking…this cannot be how I’ll remember my wedding night. He was still half dressed! After, with a much happier groom by my side, we made it the after-party where everyone joked that we were a little late. Although I’m not sure if they weren’t really joking that we should have been MUCH later.” —Kris, 40

YEA, THAT’S NOT HAPPENING

WORTH WAITING FOR

“My husband and I actually did have sex on our wedding night. It was hyped up for us because after some medical issues (and months without any nookie), I was given the clear to do the dirty not too long before our wedding. Even though we had some time before the nuptials, we decided to wait and let the excitement build up, which ended up being a great decision. We spent the night before separately, and I packed different toys and lubes for the hotel so we were more than ready the night of. Our wedding was super small and the restaurant we had our reception at wasn’t equipped for the Spotify playlist we made for the occasion, so we had our first dance in our hotel room and some damn good love-making followed directly after—definitely a top-three romp session. It’s worth noting that we’re also not big drinkers so there was no whiskey-dick issue to speak of and that the christening of our married genitals wasn’t something that either of us really showed any excitement toward until after the medically-induced dry spell.” —Megan, 40

RELATED: The Surprising Thing Happy Couples Have in Common

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health.

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The Biggest Secrets 11 Men Have Kept From Their Partners

There are probably things your partner doesn’t know about you. Don’t try to deny it; pretty much everyone has secrets.

But did you ever stop to wonder what your guy is hiding from you? Because we know you’re curious, we asked 11 guys—some of whom have been with their partners for years—what they’ve kept locked away. 

Alyssa Zolna

When I first started dating my girlfriend, my friends really, really didn’t like her. They thought she was annoying. And this wasn’t, like, one or two of my friends. It was a pretty universal opinion. I think what happened was she was trying too hard around them and not really being herself at first, because once she got acclimated and spent more time around them, she grew on them. Most of them are cool with her now. But yeah, I’ve never told her they didn’t used to like her, and I don’t see any reason to, to be honest.” —Kyle R. 

Alyssa Zolna

“The night I first met my girlfriend in real life (we met through a dating app), she was my second date of the night. I’ve kept that to myself. I feel like I should tell her, but I also really, really don’t want to.” —Joel B.

Alyssa Zolna

“There have been lots of times when I’ve gone to my mum to talk about something instead of to my wife. I don’t tell her this, because I’m sure it will hurt her. She thinks I’m the first person I come to with everything.” —Erick H.

Alyssa Zolna

“My wife is not a good cook. We’ve been together 12 years and I’ve never told her that, not once, because just because it’s not great doesn’t mean it’s not edible. I’ve definitely had worse. And if someone is going to go out of his or her way to make a meal and share it with you, it just seems kind of douchey to complain. I think she might think it’s strange that I volunteer to do so much of the cooking, or that she thinks I like cooking more than I really do. There’s also a good chance that my food is horrible, and we’re both eating stuff we don’t really like to spare one another’s feelings. That’s kind of cute in a weird way, right? Maybe?” —Andrew C.

Alyssa Zolna

“I cheated on the last woman I was with before meeting my girlfriend. The ex never found out that was why I ended things—that I felt guilty about the cheating—and my current girlfriend doesn’t know about it either, even though we claim to tell each other everything. I don’t want her to think that I would ever cheat on her, or that she can’t trust me.—Shane H.

Alyssa Zolna

“I’ll never tell my fianceé the number of girls I’ve slept with. She hasn’t asked yet, but I’m worried that she will before we get married. I don’t know if I’d avoid answering, or lie, or what, but I don’t want her to know the number. It’s…above average, and when I was piling up those numbers, I didn’t spend much time thinking about maybe meeting someone someday who would be the only person I’d want to sleep with from there on out.” —Shawn F.

Alyssa Zolna

“I keep an INCH bag. That stands for ‘I’m Never Coming Home.’ It’s a thing. Look it up. It has money and all kinds of stuff I’d need to survive for a while if I had to up and leave my home and never return to it. My wife does not know about this, and there’s no reason for her to [know]. I also acknowledge there’s no reason for me to keep one up in our attic, but I do. I’m not going to tell her about it because I don’t think she’d react well to my being prepared to leave and never return, even though I assume I’d only have to use it on my own if she had died in a zombie attack or something.” —Christopher M.

“I make this big deal about going on guy weekends and doing stuff with the guys, but I secretly miss my girlfriend very much if I don’t see her for a few days. It’s kind of pathetic.” —Seth D.

Alyssa Zolna

“I cheated on my girlfriend one time when I was drunk. I haven’t told her, and there’s no way she would ever find out unless I did. I know, I’m a terrible human being.” —Owen G.

Alyssa Zolna

“I tell my lifelong best friend everything, even things my wife doesn’t know. My wife does not know that another person in this world knows things about me that she doesn’t, and I think she’d be jealous if she found out, but I think it’s necessary to have someone like him to confide in. Especially because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with my wife.” —Ethan P.

Alyssa Zolna

“I’m still not completely over my ex and I’m not sure if I ever will be.” —Henry M.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health Mag

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