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Posted by: | Posted on: December 5, 2019

Black Cohosh Better Than Prozac for Menopause

© 27th November 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
https://www.greenmedinfo.health/blog/black-cohosh-better-prozac-menopause

Posted on: Wednesday, November 27th 2019 at 4:45 pm

Do you feel fear or worry regarding the onset of menopause, either for yourself or someone you love? Antidepressants and hormone treatments may be the popular prescriptions, but before you take medications with serious risks, learn about the incredible results of black cohosh for those pesky, sweaty, hot flashy nights

Even in the modern day, there are abundant myths and mysteries surrounding menopause, the period in a woman’s life that occurs 12 months after her last menstrual cycle.[1] Perimenopause, the transition period before menopause, is marked by hormonal changes leading to the cessation of menses.[2]

Both phases, hereafter collectively referred to as menopause, are characterized by physical and psycho-social changes that lend to the stories surrounding women’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings during this time of transition.

Menopause can range from a few months to several years in duration and is spurred by decreased estrogen production in the ovaries. These hormonal shifts can have associated and, at times, unpleasant side-effects, which may be managed through holistic or pharmacological interventions, or a combination of the two modalities.

Historically, some have prescribed to the belief that “the change” brings about an unwelcome and inevitable reality, both for women and the men in their lives. Is it any wonder that the “fix” has become to prescribe mood-altering drugs, or to attempt to “put back” the hormones that the passage of time is depleting? In truth, this natural cessation of fertility need not be synonymous with a distressing or unpleasant experience.

Antidepressants are widely prescribed for menopause symptoms ranging from depression and low libido, to anxiety and social isolation. Instead of directly addressing the emotional aspects of aging, empty-nesting, and our physiological need for strong social bonds, modern medical dogma is to simply prescribe a “magic pill” in hopes that these uncomfortable feelings will disappear.

Beyond the emotional and psychological impacts, vasomotor symptoms are commonly experienced during perimenopause up to full menopause. Changes in body temperature such as flushing and night sweats are frequently reported, and the condition known as “hot flashes” can onset. According to a 2008 study,[3] nearly 80% of peri- and postmenopausal women reported experiencing some or all of these symptoms.

Medicating Menopause: A Risky Prescription

A popular treatment administered to menopausal women in the U.S. is ERT, or estrogen replacement therapy. While it may seem natural to replace fading endogenous hormones with an exogenous supply,  warning bell has been sounded regarding potentially harmful side effects.[4] ERT has been linked to cancercardiovascular disease and stroke, among other concerning outcomes.[5]

Another prescribed treatment for vasomotor symptoms is gabapentin, known by the brand name Neurontin, an anti-seizure drug used to treat nerve pain and conditions such as restless leg syndrome. Also prescribed for anxiety, gabapentin has a high potential for addiction and misuse,[6] and can have undesirable side effects such as slurred speech, blurred vision and impaired motor function.[7] Even worse, Neurontin has been linked to cases of suicidal ideation[8] and respiratory failure,[9] among other serious side effects.[10]

Another option frequently prescribed are the broad spectrum of mood-altering and antidepressant drugs. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs, and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, SNRIs are often the first course of treatment when a menopausal patient complains of depression, lethargy, or hormonal issues.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women are 2.5 times more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant than men.[11] Nearly 23% of woman ages 40 to 59 are taking antidepressant medication in the U.S., more than any other age-sex group.[12]

Validated by Science: Natural Options for Hormonal Balance

While natural options for managing menopause may not be routinely prescribed by allopathic physicians, science has validated that black cohosh is a viable treatment for several discomforting symptoms of this life-changing transition.

This double-blind placebo-controlled study, found that black cohosh (scientific name: Cimicifuga Racemosa) was “equipotent” to mixed-estrogen drugs for relief from vasomotor symptoms, and for improving markers of bone metabolism, a factor related to osteoporosis.

What’s not equal when comparing most plant medicines to pharmaceuticals are potential adverse effects. Premarin®, a popular mixed-estrogen drug, has a warning label that cites increased risks of heart attack, cancer, blood clots and stroke,[13] while studies involving a 12-month course of treatment with black cohosh root (the part of the plant used in herbal formulations) show it was administered with no known adverse effects.[14]

Another impressive study pitting black cohosh against a popular prescription involves Prozac® for treatment of postmenopausal symptoms. The 2007 study, published in Advances in Therapy, compared questionnaires from 120 healthy women with menopausal symptoms who rated such factors as quality of life, depression scores, and frequency and severity of vasomotor symptoms like flushing and night sweats.[15]

Women in this study were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups, with one group receiving fluoxetine (generic form of Prozac®) and the other group receiving black cohosh. The women were surveyed before, during and after the study, for a period of six months. They kept daily diaries recording the number and intensity of hot flashes and night sweats, as well as completing several standardized questionnaires.

Results of this study showed that black cohosh reduced overall scores for hot flushes and night sweats better than Prozac®. At the end of the sixth month of treatment, black cohosh reduced the hot flush score by 85%, compared with a 62% result for fluoxetine.

By the study’s end, 40 women taking the prescription drug had discontinued the study, while only 20 women in the black cohosh group discontinued, potentially speaking to benefits gained from long-term use of herbs, the reverse of which is true for many pharmaceutical drugs, which are contraindicated for longer periods of use.

Managing Change Gracefully

Placebo effect dictates that the beliefs we hold about our health and treatment options have significant impact on our experiences. Be aware of any negative beliefs you might hold about menopause; despite popular opinions and superstitions,[1] there is no mandate that this phase of life must be a difficult one.

With improved psycho-social awareness of the stressors women experience mid-life, and better understanding of naturally effective treatment options, we can begin to view menopause as a celebration of life rather than the death of fertility. It’s the dawning of a new cycle, a time ripe for giving of your experience and wisdom. Protect your vitality with naturally effective plant medicine and enjoy all the seasons of your life.

To learn more about black cohosh and other natural treatment options for menopause, explore the 79 abstracts and 38 natural substances that are compiled on GreenMedInfo’s Research Database.


References

[1] Menopause and Hormone Replacement February 25, 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279050/

[2] The North American Menopause Society, Menopause 101 https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/menopause-101-a-primer-for-the-perimenopausal

[3] Frequency and severity of vasomotor symptoms among peri- and postmenopausal women in the United States. Williams RE, Kalilani L, DiBenedetti DB, Zhou X, Granger AL, Fehnel SE, Levine KB, Jordan J, Clark RV. Climacteric. 2008 Feb; 11(1):32-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18202963/

[4] Project Aware https://www.project-aware.org/Managing/Hrt/benefits-risks.shtml

[5] Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Sep;173(3 Pt 2):982-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7573295

[6] J Exp Pharmacol. 2017; 9: 13-21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308580/

[7] Toxnet, Gabapentin https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+7364

[8] Pregabalin-induced self-harm behavior. Tandon VR, Mahajan V, Gillani ZH, Mahajan A. Indian J Pharmacol. 2013 Nov-Dec; 45(6):638-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24347781/

[9] Recurrent hypoventilation and respiratory failure during gabapentin therapy. Batoon SB, Vela AT, Dave D, Wahid Z, Conetta R, Iakovou C, Banzuela M. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2001 Apr; 49(4):498. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11347805/

[10] Pfizer, Neurontin https://www.pfizermedicalinformation.com/en-us/neurontin/adverse-reactions

[11] U.S. CDC, NCHS Data Brief No. 76, October 2011 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db76.htm

[12] U.S. CDC, NCHS Data Brief No. 76, October 2011 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db76.htm

[13] Pfizer, Premarin https://www.pfizermedicalinformation.com/en-us/patient/premarin

[14] National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Black Cohosh https://nccih.nih.gov/health/blackcohosh/ataglance.htm

[15] Adv Ther. 2007 Mar-Apr;24(2):448-61.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17565936

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Posted by: | Posted on: December 4, 2019

This Protein Could Signal Early Death


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/12/04/high-troponin-levels-increase-risk-of-death.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola  Fact Checked – December 04, 2019
troponin levels heart attack

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Troponin is a protein responsible for helping to regulate contractions in skeletal and heart muscle. After comparing blood levels and age, data revealed a slight raise in all age groups increased the risk of early death, and those who were 18 to 29 years old had a tenfold higher potential risk
  • High levels in people without a diagnosis of heart attack also had a higher risk of early death; high levels of troponin may be found after sepsis, stroke, pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease and chemotherapy
  • Symptoms of a heart attack are not always obvious, but immediate treatment improves the rate of survival and reduces the risk of heart muscle damage from lack of oxygen; women may experience different symptoms including anxiety, back pain, heartburn or extreme fatigue
  • One study showed 70% of heart attacks could be prevented by eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, maintaining a normal BMI, not smoking and other health lifestyle choices. It is important to know your risk factors and take quick action even if you only feel like you might be having a heart attack

Statistics from the American Heart Disease 2019 update shows cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the leading cause of death, although the rate decreased by 18.6% from 2006 to 2016.1 Despite this reduction, 1.05 million people were expected to have a coronary event in 2019, including 720,000 first time and 335,000 recurrent events.

Nearly every 40 seconds someone has a heart attack or a stroke. In 2014-2015 the annual financial burden for CVD was estimated at $351.2 billion. In the survey, the data showed awareness of the symptoms of a heart attack was low.2

This has a negative impact on early diagnosis and treatment of a heart attack, which is linked to a higher potential for survival and return to normal activities when more of the heart muscle can be saved.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,3 nearly 47% of sudden cardiac death happens outside of a hospital, which suggests people may be unaware they have heart disease, or they don’t act on early warning signs of a heart attack.

Those at greater risk of a cardiac event include people who have other medical conditions such as diabetes or practice specific lifestyle choices, such as eating a poor diet, excessive alcohol use, smoking or lack of physical activity.

Protein Linked to Muscle Damage Raises Risk of Death

Once your heart has begun to be damaged by a heart attack, the heart muscle releases a protein, troponin, which is responsible for helping to regulate contractions in skeletal and heart muscle.4 Emergency room physicians test for blood levels of this protein, along with other clinical tests, to evaluate the likelihood a patient is having a heart attack.

The level of the protein and other test results help clinicians make choices about immediate treatment. A new analysis from the National Institute for Health Research Health Informatics Collaborative led by researchers from London looked at data from 250,000 patients who had troponin tests completed.

The information was grouped by age and then compared against the test results and the patient’s health outcomes in the following three years. The researchers were interested in comparing the differences in troponin levels across age ranges, specifically in the senior population, as well as investigating the significance of the different levels of the protein.

The new data showed even a slight raise in the level of protein was associated with an increased risk of early death in all age groups. They also found the higher the level, the higher the risk of death in those who had suffered a heart attack.

However, patients who had the highest levels had a lower risk of dying, which the researchers theorized was due to the likelihood the patient had an event requiring surgery that may have reduced the risk of death. The data also showed patients from 18 to 29 years with raised levels had a tenfold higher potential risk of dying than those in the same age range without raised levels of troponin.

When the patients were over 80 years with raised levels, 46% died within three years.5 The lead scientist of the study commented in a press release:6

“There have been many advances in treating heart disease yet it remains the leading cause of death in the UK and around the world. This is the first study to address the implications of raised troponin in a real world large sample of patients across a wide range of ages.

Doctors will be able to use this information to help identify the risk of early death in patients who have a troponin level measured; this could lead to interventions at a much earlier stage in a wider group of patients than are currently treated.”

Other Things Can Also Raise Troponin Levels

The results also revealed, even if the patient had not been diagnosed with a heart attack, those who had higher levels of troponin had an increased risk of death.7 When you are healthy, levels of troponin are low enough they are usually undetectable. The levels begin rising three to four hours after heart damage and may stay elevated for 14 days.

However, troponin protein may be released into your bloodstream following more than a heart attack.8 Physicians from the Cleveland Clinic discuss several other health conditions during which your body releases troponin, which may signal an increased risk of death without early treatment.

Sepsis — This is a life-threatening condition triggered by a systemic infection that ultimately affects the function of your vital organs. Sepsis is sometimes referred to as blood poisoning and it is conservatively estimated to be responsible for 270,000 deaths each year.

Troponin elevations may be the result of a combination of renal dysfunction, massive inflammatory response and increasing levels of catecholamine damage to the heart.

Stroke — An acute ischemic stroke may raise troponin levels by triggering a variety of cardiovascular responses increasing stress on the heart. Troponin levels may also rise through neurogenic heart damage and alterations to the autonomic nervous system control.

This results in a catecholamine surge and damage to the myocardium. Scientists theorize this may explain the presence of rising levels in an ischemic stroke in the absence of coronary artery disease.

Pulmonary disease — A strain on the right side of the heart from pulmonary disease may mark right ventricular dysfunction or indicate severe disease and poor outcomes in those who have high pulmonary arterial pressure.

An acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has been linked to an increase in all-cause mortality with elevations of serum troponin.

Chronic kidney disease — Troponin is cleared by the kidney, which may be one explanation for elevated levels in those with chronic kidney disease. Elevations may also be the result of elevation in proinflammatory cytokines and associated high blood pressure.

Chemotherapy — Chemotherapy can induce cardiac toxicity through the production of oxygen free radicals and by disturbing mitochondrial metabolism. When left ventricular deterioration is associated with chemotherapy it is often irreversible. By monitoring troponin levels problems may be identified before cardiac symptoms are clinically evident.

Can You Have a Heart Attack and Not Know It?

Although the terms are used interchangeably, a heart attack and cardiac arrest are not the same thing. A heart attack affects the oxygen supply to your heart while a cardiac arrest affects the electrical impulse. During a heart attack, restriction of oxygen occurs with a blockage to the blood supply, but the remainder of the muscle continues to beat.

During a cardiac arrest, the electrical system is affected by conditions such as heart failure, arrhythmias or ventricular fibrillation, usually resulting in a loss of consciousness and heartbeat. In some instances, just before cardiac arrest, you may notice abnormal gasping or there may be seizure activity at the beginning of the event.

Symptoms of a heart attack are not always obvious. However, immediate treatment often results in higher survival rates and loss of less heart muscle from lack of oxygen. Common symptoms of a heart attack include:

Chest pain or discomfort Upper body discomfort Shortness of breath
Breaking out in a cold sweat Nausea Sudden dizziness
Feeling unusually tired Lightheadedness

Not all heart attacks begin with crushing chest pain as is depicted on television or in the movies. Women are less likely to report chest pain during a heart attack and more likely to perceive the symptoms as stress or anxiety. Women use terms such as “pressure,” “tightness” or “discomfort” rather than chest pain.

While 30% of women will seek medical care compared to 22% of men, physicians tend to misdiagnose or dismiss the symptoms of a heart attack in women rather than men. Other symptoms that may indicate a heart attack is in progress include:

Anxiety attack Back pain
Heartburn Hot flashes
Extreme fatigue Feeling electric shocks down on the left side
Numbness and stiffness in the left arm and neck Feeling like there is a large pill stuck in your throat

Know Your Risk Factors and Take Action

Research published in the American Journal of Cardiology found women who addressed six lifestyle factors had the greatest impact on their heart health. In the study, nurses were followed for 20 years, starting around age 37.

Those who adhered to all six guidelines lowered their risk of heart disease by 92%. Researchers on the team estimated more than 70% of heart attacks could be prevented by implementing:

Healthy diet Achieving a normal BMI (body fat percentage is more accurate)
Getting at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week Watching television seven or fewer hours per week
Not smoking Limiting alcohol intake to one drink or less per day

While none of these factors should come as a surprise, they collectively have an impressive impact on your cardiac risk. With respect to BMI, note that your waist-to-hip ratio is a more reliable predictor of risk than BMI, as it reflects the amount of visceral fat you carry. Another factor that can increase inflammation, activate your sympathetic nervous system and trigger a heart attack is stress.

Additionally, sitting for long periods of time raises your risk of a heart attack. This means intermittent movement and spending time at the gym or exercising at home are important factors to lowering your risk of CVD.

Some of the uncommon symptoms may lead you to believe you are not having a heart attack. Even if you’re not sure, it is vital that you call for immediate emergency assistance as time is a significant factor in improving your potential for survival.

An ambulance is the best and safest way to reach the hospital because emergency personnel can use treatments enroute before reaching the emergency room. Emergency medical personnel would rather treat you for a non-life-threatening condition then have you die because you are unwilling to go for treatment.

Talk with your health care provider about your risks and keep important information with you in case of an emergency. For instance, write down all your medications and supplements you’re taking and have the card laminated, keeping it in your wallet or purse.