Heart Disease:
The loud and clear message is that one should eat a well-balanced diet containing as little animal products as possible and do regular exercise. If you are balding, take extra precautions. So, practice vegetarianism, practice Yoga (or other oriental techniques), exercise regularly, meditate and avoid bad habits.

"About 80 to 90 percent of what we need to prevent heart disease is already known. The problem is that addressing those behaviors is something a lot of Americans don't want to do, so they are looking for other excuses," says Dr. Philip Greenland, a cardiologist at Northwestern University.

People with family history of heart disease and cancer have to be extra careful in their behavior and food habits.  Like family history, baldness is an indicator of increased risk. Men who are losing the hair on the crowns of their heads have up to a 36 percent greater risk of experiencing heart problems, including heart attacks and bypass surgery, a study found. "You can't alter your family history or your baldness, but there are many ways to modify your risk factors," said Dr. Joann Manson, one of the study's authors and chief of preventative medicine at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Manson's study, published in Monday's edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that the greater the hair loss on the top of a man's head, the greater the risk. Established risk factors for heart disease include hypertension, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Human Nature and American Culture
It is clear to almost everyone that a healthy life style is very important to lead disease-free and happy life.  However, as Dr. Philip Greenland says, many people do not want to follow the healthy guidelines.  We would like to indulge in all kinds of bad habits and then seek help from doctors.  This is, in a way, a great cycle of economy, where food industry, pharmaceutical industry and health care industry reap benefits out of common man's inability to control his/her cravings and bad habits.  Interestingly lawyers also benefit from this cycle! In October 1999, American Home agreed to pay $3.75 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits filed nationwide by people claiming health problems due to fen-phen, a combination of the anti-obesity drugs Pondimin (fenfluramine) and phentermine.  But the settlement has not been finalized, and attorneys said many clients would opt-out of the agreement so they can sue on their own. Interneuron is now facing more than 2,000 lawsuits related to Redux. Pondimin and Redux were taken off the market in September 1997. Pondimin was made and marketed by American Home, while Redux was developed by Interneuron and marketed by American Home. Interneuron is seeking unspecified damages against American Home in a suit filed in Massachusetts.  The cause for all these problems: Dishonesty, Greed and Gluttony.

On January 24, FDA took steps to make sure Propulsid is used only by patients with severe nighttime heartburn who get no relief from other drugs - and only if they appear at low risk for the cardiac side effects, in the wake of 70 deaths and 200 other reports of irregular heartbeat and other heart rhythm disturbances since Propulsid hit the market in 1993. The FDA first warned that Propulsid could cause serious heart problems in June 1998. Janssen Pharmaceuticals based in Titusville, N.J. is the manufacturer of Propulsid.

According to FDA Propulsid should not be taken by anyone with heart disease, including valvular disease, or who has ever had an irregular heartbeat, abnormal EKG or QT prolongation; people with kidney disease; lung disease; low blood levels of the electrolytes potassium, calcium or magnesium; an eating disorder; dehydration or prolonged vomiting.

Propulsid should not be taken while using a list of other medications, including antibiotics like erythromycin; antifungals like ketoconazole; AIDS-fighting protease inhibitors; drugs for irregular heartbeat; certain antidepressants and antipsychotics such as Elavil or Serzone. It should not be taken with grapefruit juice.  FDA suggests patients being considered for Propulsid should undergo EKG and blood tests to check electrolyte levels.

Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, January 29, 2000
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