Think You Have a Food Allergy? You Might Not
Food allergies are more rare than we think, a new analysis suggests. While 30 percent of people claim to have them, less than 5 percent of adults and 8 percent of kids actually do, according to an author of the report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers examined more than 12,000 studies on food allergies and found that even those diagnosed had a less than 50 percent chance of truly being allergic, The New York Times reports.
One reason behind the inconsistency involves oft-used allergy tests that look for IgE antibodies, which should be plentiful in the case of an allergic reaction. However, many people who produce IgE antibodies after exposure to particular foods won't react to those foods at all, The Times reports.
- Preventing Food Allergy—Is It Possible?
- 'The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook': Have Your Baked Goods and Eat Them Too
Heartburn Drugs Pose Risks: 12 Natural Symptom Relievers
Have frequent heartburn? Take Nexium. An advertising blitz for that little purple pill helped it become the No. 2 best-selling prescription drug in the U.S., with sales of $6.3 billion last year—and let's not forget the billions spent on its over-the-counter cousin, Prilosec, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz writes.
Now, though, researchers are warning that this category of heartburn drugs, called proton pump inhibitors, may do more harm than good, at least for people with garden-variety heartburn. A series of new studies, published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that daily use of these drugs, which suppress the production of stomach acid, increases the risk of infection with an intestinal bacteria and increases the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women. Previous research has shown that they also increase the likelihood of contracting pneumonia.
"About 60 to 70 percent of people taking these drugs have mild heartburn and shouldn't be on them," says Mitchell Katz, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health who wrote an editorial that accompanied the new studies. "It's not just a question of unnecessary costs, but unnecessary side effects." [Read more: Heartburn Drugs Pose Risks: 12 Natural Symptom Relievers.]
- Got Heartburn? A Caution About Your Proton Pump Inhibitor
- 7 Common Digestive Problems and How to End Them
Working Overtime May Harm the Heart
Consistently working long hours could give your ticker a beating, a new study suggests. Researchers who looked at data from 6,000 British civil servants found that those who worked three or more hours of overtime each day had a 60 percent higher risk of developing serious heart problems. More than 350 of the workers died from heart disease, or had heart attacks or angina, HealthDay reports. More stress at work and less time for exercise or doctor's visits may help explain the findings, one expert told HealthDay.
U.S. News has reported on how working the night shift may be hazardous to your health. Studies have linked shift work to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression. [Read more: 6 Ways to Make Working the Night Shift Less Hazardous to Your Health.]
- Are You at Low Risk for Heart Disease? Probably Not
- Is Your Job Killing You? How Work Influences Longevity
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