Women know we have to work a little harder to stay healthy.
For starters, we have to pay closer attention to the signals our bodies send us, because we’re usually busy taking care of everyone else.
We also have to be aware those signals can be different — like heart attack symptoms.
That’s just one of many reasons we have to be persistent with our doctors, because they don’t always listen.
And we have to be careful about the medications we take.
For example, prior to hitting menopause, women have a lower risk of heart disease than men. However, past the age of 65, it becomes the number one killer of women.
Researchers and doctors thought hormone replacement therapy would fix that. Then, the bad news came…
Study after study not only linked HRT to a risk of breast cancer, but also to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes — leading to a recommendation by the American Heart Association as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to not use HRT for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes in women.
Now, there’s a new medication-related threat putting women’s heart health on the line… and there’s a sure bet you’ve taken these drugs… and may see a doctor that wants to prescribe them more in the coming months…
What antibiotics can do to your heart
Researchers from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health uncovered an alarming connection between long-term antibiotic use and heart disease.
They found that women who take antibiotics for two months or more are 58 percent more likely to die from heart disease.
The study included 37,510 women who were 60 or older. Researchers followed these women from 2004 until 2012, tracking antibiotic use and health.
Besides the extraordinarily strong connection between antibiotic use and heart disease death, researchers also found that taking antibiotics for two months or longer increased the risk of death from all causes by 27 percent.
If you’re wondering why long-term antibiotic use puts your heart — and life — in danger, researchers believe it all comes down to the good bacteria your gut needs to thrive — the ones antibiotics wipe out while they’re killing the bad guys.
Moreover, those bacteria are tied to your health in every body part… from head to toe. That includes your heart.
“Gut microbiota alterations have been associated with a variety of life-threatening disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer,” said study author Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans. “Antibiotic exposure affects balance and composition of the gut microbiome, even after one stops taking antibiotics; so, it is important to better understand how taking antibiotics might impact risks for chronic diseases and death.”
Tips on taking antibiotics
To keep our hearts safe, it’s clear we should limit antibiotic use to those times they’re absolutely necessary. Here are some tips that may help:
Antibiotics aren’t effective against viruses, like colds or flus. Because colds and flu aren’t bacterial infections, antibiotics don’t help these illnesses. Sometimes, however a bacterial infection can occur following a viral infection. This is why some doctors will offer them “just in case.” Taking antibiotics when unnecessary also contributes to antibiotic resistance.
Always ask your doctor if an antibiotic is truly necessary. Does blood work indicate an infection? That’s a no brainer situation indicating antibiotics may be necessary. But if not, and you don’t have other obvious signs of bacterial infection, like fever, question your doctor’s desire to prescribe them.
Ask for short-course antibiotics, if possible. Your doctor may be willing to write you a short-course and check in with you once it’s done to see if you’ve improved.
The next steps are about going the extra mile to promote your heart health. For this, I recommend the following supplements.
Vitamin K2 — To boost artery-beneficial HDL, lower total cholesterol, and enhance blood flow.
Nitrosigine® — To signal your arteries to open to receive blood flow and then relax again — which helps maintain healthy circulation and normal blood pressure.
NSK-SD® Nattokinase — To break down fibrin and dissolve clots to allow your blood to flow smoothly.
CoQ10 — To flood your heart with the energy it needs to stand up to all of your body’s demands.
By looking out for your heart, hopefully it will be able to handle whatever comes your way.