Blood Pressure Drugs Linked to Cancer
A new analysis suggests that blood pressure drugs known as angiotensin-receptor blockers may raise the risk of cancer. Data from more than 60,000 patients revealed that those taking the drugs were 1.2 percent more likely to develop cancer than those who weren't, Reuters reports. More studies are needed to uncover the drugs' role in cancer growth. But cardiologist Steven Nissen, one of U.S. News's Health Advice experts, called the evidence "disturbing and provocative," adding that doctors should be more cautious about prescribing the drugs, Reuters reports. The findings are published online in the The Lancet Oncology.
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Air Pollution and Asthma: 4 Ways to Stay Safe on "Ozone-Alert" Days
Summer months can be tough on people with asthma, which affects more than 20 million Americans. Poor air quality caused by a combination of ground-level ozone and air pollution can worsen asthma symptoms, triggering wheezing, coughing, trouble breathing, and even leading to hospitalization in serious cases. Newspapers, websites, and TV news broadcasts often warn of so-called "ozone-advisory," "ozone-alert," or "ozone-action" days, when sensitive groups—those with asthma and other respiratory conditions—should stay indoors because potentially dangerous smog conditions are likely, U.S. News's January Payne writes.
Ozone is the primary ingredient in urban smog, generated when sunlight hits pollutants spewed by cars, chemical plants, industrial boilers, refineries, and other sources. It occurs naturally in the Earth's upper atmosphere, but when it's released at ground level, it becomes a harmful outdoor pollutant. Because sunlight abounds during summer months, summer is often a highly irritating time for the lungs of asthmatics, says LeRoy Graham, a pediatric pulmonologist based in Atlanta, Ga.
On ozone-alert days, asthmatics tend to experience more lung inflammation. When this happens, "they're more likely to have to seek unscheduled care," Graham says. Because of this, asthmatics should have a plan to lessen the chances of an attack on poor air-quality days, and know what to do if an attack occurs. [Read more: Air Pollution and Asthma: 4 Ways to Stay Safe on 'Ozone-Alert' Days.]
Lawn Mowers Threaten Kids' Safety
The American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical groups are urging parents to be mindful of the dangers lawn mowers pose to children. Among their tips for avoiding accidental injuries is to prohibit kids younger than 12 from operating any mower, HealthDay reports.
But lawn mowers aren't the only threat. Unintentional injuries in children spike during the summer months, U.S. News contributor Sarah Baldauf wrote last year. Summer is known in the medical business as "trauma season." Because of unintentional injuries, U.S. children age 14 and under made more than 2.4 million emergency room visits in the summer of 2004. Those injuries resulted in 2,143 deaths, according to a report by Safe Kids Worldwide. [Read more: Summer Safety: 8 Reasons Kids End Up in the ER—and How to Prevent It.]
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