A Link Between Sleep and Heart Disease?
Middle-aged adults who got an extra hour of sleep each night have less risk of having artery-clogging calcifications that can lead to heart disease, according to a study published in the December 24–31 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. That doesn't mean that people should pop sleeping pills in order to get more rest, experts say. "We don't know why there is an association," Diane Lauderdale, the study's author and an associate professor of health studies at the University of Chicago Medical Center, told HealthDay. "And until we know why, we can't tell whether it is a causal association."
Researchers followed a group of 495 adults ages 35 to 47 and found a link between their sleeping habits and calcium deposits in their coronary arteries, which were measured using CT scans. None of the study participants had calcium deposits that were detectable at the start of the study, but five years later, about 12.3 percent had such deposits. An additional hour of sleep each night decreased the calcification risk by a third, the researchers reported.
As U.S. News has repeatedly reported, getting a good night's rest is an important part of maintaining good health. Consider these 10 reasons not to skimp on sleep, and try these three ways to get better sleep.
Drug Combinations You Should Avoid
Note to seniors (and anyone else) mixing prescriptions with painkillers and/or their favorite dietary supplements: Don't do it until you check with your doctor to make sure they don't interact to cause you harm. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that 1 in 25 people in their late 50s and older is risking dangerous drug interactions by mixing, for example, the blood thinner warfarin with garlic pills. That's right, garlic pills are drugs, Deborah Kotz reports. So, too, are potassium and niacin supplements. Or you should think of them that way, says study coauthor Stacy Tessler Lindau, an assistant professor of medicine-geriatrics at the University of Chicago School of Medicine. Consider these five dangerous drug combinations that you need to avoid.
To ensure that you're taking your medications safely, incorporate these four ways to avoid dangerous drug errors and these medicine safety tips into your routine. U.S. News reported last year that shoddy and fraudulent pharmaceutical products are a growing threat.
How to Maximize Your Workout on a Budget
Saving money on your fitness routine is one way to help trim your budget during these lean financial times, Katherine Hobson reports. Five tips she offers: Ask your gym for a deal, set up a home gym, consider exercise DVDs and free online workout programs, try simple activities like walking and running, and cut down on the cost of workout gear. U.S. News also offers other ways to weather a recession. In addition, joining a local, independent gym can save you money.
—January W. Payne
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