Stimulants used to treat ADHD may increase cardiovascular risk

Stimulants used to treat ADHD may increase cardiovascular risk

Each year, thousands of children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and put on stimulant medications to help them better focus. While these drugs have proven successful in many children, they have been linked cardiovascular health problems.

New data published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology suggests that stimulant drugs like Ritalin and Adderall can accelerate heart disease that will often not be recognized until later in life.

Researchers followed more than 700,000 children born in Denmark between 1990 and 1999. They found that while cardiovascular events were rare, they were twice as likely to occur in stimulant users than those who did not take the drugs.

Over the last decade, the over-diagnosis of ADHD in American children has been hotly debated. The truth is, in many children and adults it is over-treated, putting them at risk for heart disease and even addiction. Based on this new study, underestimating the complications of placing potentially addicting drugs in the hands of more people may have more damaging consequences than we previously thought.

Of course, when ADHD is properly diagnosed and treated with the lowest possible doses of stimulant medication, one can reduce the risk to children and adults. And early pharmacological treatment may reduce the risk of substance abuse in some children.

These and all drugs carry risks. When we prescribe medications that can acutely affect the health of young people, or in the long run result in illness, disease, or death – we need to provide a caution on the pill bottle. It’s important that we emphasize that these drugs may be addicting and should not be mixed with other drugs, supplements or drinks.

It is true that the chance of having an adverse outcome is statistically low. But with so many children on these medications for so many years, the risks rise substantially.

Before putting your child on medication, try healthy diet combined with smart lifestyle changes that may reduce or even eliminate symptoms and may also protect your child’s heart from many diseases.

Source: fox news

Study suggests blood pressure should be measured in both arms

New research published in The American Journal of Medicine suggests that there is an association between a difference in interarm systolic blood pressure and a significant increased risk for future cardiovascular events, leading researchers to recommend expanded clinical use of interarm blood pressure measurement.

While blood pressure is a widely used medical metric, most measurements are taken only using one arm. Measuring interarm blood pressure involves taking two readings, one for each arm. Increased interarm systolic blood pressure differences are defined as 10 mmHg or greater, and while a link between interarm blood pressure and cardiovascular risk was suspected, little data existed to support the hypothesis until now.

This new study examined 3,390 participants aged 40 years and older from the Framingham Heart Study. All subjects were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline, but investigators found that participants with higher interarm systolic blood pressure differences were at a much higher risk for future cardiovascular events than those with less than a 10 mm Hg difference between arms.

“In this large prospective, community based cohort of middle-age men and women free of cardiovascular disease, an increased interarm systolic blood pressure difference was found to be present in nearly 10 per cent of individuals and is associated with increased levels of traditional cardiovascular risk factors,” explains lead investigator Dr Ido Weinberg, Institute for Heart Vascular and Stroke Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. “Furthermore, an increased interarm systolic blood pressure difference is associated with an increased risk for incident cardiovascular events, independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors.”

Researchers also found that participants with elevated interarm blood pressure difference were older, had a greater prevalence of diabetes mellitus, higher systolic blood pressure, and a higher total cholesterol level.

According to these findings, investigators suggest practitioners should consider including blood pressure readings in both arms in order to get the most accurate readings possible and detect any differences in interarm blood pressure.

“Even modest differences in clinically-measured systolic blood pressures in the upper extremities reflect an increase in cardiovascular risk,” says Dr Weinberg. “This study supports the potential value of identifying the interarm systolic blood pressure difference as a simple clinical indicator of increased cardiovascular risk.”

Source: India Medical Times