Production Halts After Glass Particles Found in Generic Lipitor
Makers of a generic form of the cholestrol-controlling drug Lipitor have halted production until they figure out how glass particles landed in pills sold to the public, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday. Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals is the largest producer of Atorvastatin, a generic form of Lipitor, reports The New York Times. The company first issued recalls on November 9 due to glass contamination, which may not be as bad as it sounds, reports ABC News, but could lead to minor irritation in the digestive system. The FDA suggests in a statement that those who take Atorvastatin play it safe: "Consumers who are concerned that they may have received a recalled product should consult with their pharmacist where they bought the product to confirm whether they received a recalled product, should stop taking the product if it was recalled, and should consult with their pharmacist or physician about how to obtain an alternative product," reports ABC.
14 Heart Numbers Everyone Should Know
A long life free of heart disease does not come just from controlling the standard measures like blood pressure and cholesterol. Sure, keeping tabs on these indicators is essential to gauging your heart's health, but a few other numbers—some surprising—can be meaningful as well.
It's awareness worth having. The American Heart Association (AHA) noted in its annual review for 2011 that while the death rate due to cardiovascular disease in the United States fell between 1996 and 2007, the burden of the disease is still high. One in nearly three deaths was related to heart disease in 2007. U.S. News consulted with cardiology experts to round up the target numbers you should strive for to keep your ticker in good shape over the long haul:
1. Alcohol intake. Those fond of tipple may be dismayed, but the science on alcohol as an agent to promote heart health is just not definitive. "If you have heart disease, alcohol plays no role in your medicine cabinet; if [you do] not, alcohol is not the right way to reduce your risk," says Jonathan Whiteson, director of the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program at New York University Langone Medical Center. Some research has suggested that drinking red wine may increase one's HDL, or "good" cholesterol, but Whiteson notes that the boost is minimal. "Exercise [offers] a better increase in HDL," he says.
While he's not against a drink in a social setting, it's certainly not something folks—especially those with heart disease—should engage in with the idea that it will offer a heart benefit, says Whiteson. In fact, medications' effectiveness can be either hampered or heightened by alcohol, sometimes to a dangerous extent. (Common herbal supplements can interact with heart drugs, too). And drinking too much can lead to high blood pressure or increased blood levels of triglycerides, a type of fat. [Read more: 14 Heart Numbers Everyone Should Know]
Are You Exercising for the Right Reasons?
When most people set out to get some exercise, it's for one reason: to look better. Whether our end goal is weight loss, toning up, or building muscle, we tend to be motivated to exercise by external benefits. However, recent research on willpower hints that this external focus may be counterproductive to our overall success, writes U.S. News blogger Melinda Johnson.
The theory is this: Our willpower is an exhaustible resource; we have a certain amount, but it does get used up over the course of the day. Think of it as a bank account that you tap into, as you try to make choices that differ from what you really want to do in order to achieve your weight loss goals:
Order the skinny latte instead of the regular with whip, 10 willpower points.
Eat your home-packed lunch instead of hitting the drive-through, 15 willpower points.
Snack on an apple rather than a bag of chips from the vending machine, 20 willpower points.
It may not take long to end up with a low balance in your willpower bank account, and not have enough energy to resist that tub of ice cream calling your name. And here's the rub: Some researchers speculate that exercising for external reasons only—that is, to lose weight—taps into your willpower bank account much more than exercising for internal reasons, such as relieving stress. [Read more: Are You Exercising for the Right Reasons?]