Dr. Rick Wilson: That is a special issue. Patients with glaucoma seem to be protected early in the course of hypertension because the higher blood pressure pushes blood into the eye to the optic nerve against a higher IOP. However, if the blood pressure stays up, changes happen to the blood vessels in response to the high blood pressure that reduces flow to the optic nerve. Then, if a doctor adds medicines to combat hypertension that lowers the blood pressure, the blood pressure can drop too low and blood flow to the eye will be compromised.
Probiotics are dietary supplements which contain beneficial or friendly bacteria or yeasts which may strengthen or exert health benefits to the body’s natural digestive system. Probiotics offer a way to restore the natural balance of your digestive system especially if you suffer from anyone of constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, urgency or gas and bloating. Numerous research studies have shown benefits for sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis). Probiotics which contain the strain bifidobacterium infantis 35624 have been shown to relieve abdominal pain, bloating, urgency, constipation or diarrhea.
Alternatives: If you're among the millions of older Americans who haven't been diagnosed with heart disease but are taking these drugs to lower your slightly elevated cholesterol, ask your doctor or other health care provider about making changes to your diet and getting regular exercise instead of using statins. You also might try lowering your blood levels of homocysteine — which is linked to high cholesterol — by taking a combination of sublingual (under-the-tongue) vitamin B12 (1,000 mcg daily), folic acid (800 mcg daily) and vitamin B6 (200 mg daily).
Ask the Pharmacist is written by Armon B. Neel Jr. , PharmD, CGP, in collaboration with journalist Bill Hogan. They are coauthors of Are Your Prescriptions Killing You? (Atria Books).