Volume 12, Issue 44 |  
How to get rid of heartburn and
have a heart attack
Would you rather have heartburn or a heart attack? I'm not kidding. That is a question that quite a few people out there need to be asking themselves. Why? It's because all those great heartburn pills that Big Pharma peddles on TV every day cause heart attacks.

Researchers looked at 56,406 men and women who were leaving the hospital after suffering a heart attack. They followed them for one year. And during that time they noted how many of them were also taking drugs (proton pump inhibitors) to reduce stomach acid. In that year, 9,137 or 16.2% of them were re-hospitalized for another heart attack or a stroke or died from either a heart attack or stroke.

And the amazing fact was that the patients taking these drugs were 30% more likely to be in that unhappy group than those who did not take the drugs. And for those of you who already know that proton pump inhibitors interfere with the heart medication clopidrogel (Plavix), you need to know that the increased risk had nothing to do with clopidrogel. It was strictly from the heartburn drugs.

Proton pump inhibitors go by the following names: omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprozole (Prevacid), rabeprozole (Aciphex), pantoprozole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium). If you are on one of these drugs because you have an ulcer or Barrett's disease, then don't stop them without your doctor's approval. And if that is the case for you, then it's all that much more important to do everything you can to avoid cardiovascular disease because you are definitely at an increased risk. But what if you are taking one of these drugs and you don't have an ulcer or Barrett's?

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Dr. Mitchell Katz is the director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. He is also the author of an editorial accompanying the study. He estimates that 60-70% of the patients who take these drugs don't need them. They could get rid of their heartburn simply by changing their eating and drinking habits. If you're in that group, then you are placing yourself at risk for no good reason. I have written on several occasions before about natural ways to get rid of heartburn, and you can access those reports on my website. And that just leaves me with one more thought.

Sir William Osler, MD was a founder and the first chief of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Because he was such a pioneer and innovator, he is often referred to as the "Father of Modern Medicine." One of his more famous quotes is, "One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine." In this day and age, when virtually everything most conventional doctors have to offer is a drug, I am quite sure that Dr. Osler is rolling over in his grave.

Drugs are great, but they are also dangerous. And they should not be resorted to unless natural treatments are tried first. This problem with proton pump inhibitors is just one of the many problems with drugs. That's why pharmaceuticals are the third leading cause of death in America. Amazing! So find yourself a doctor who is versed in all the nutritional, lifestyle, herbal, and other alternatives to drugs. And when a doctor prescribes a drug for you or someone in your family, you can find out about all the non-pharmaceutical ways to treat the problem.

Yours for better health,

Charlot M, Ahlehoff O, Norgaard ML, et al. Proton-pump inhibitors are associated with increased cardiovascular risk independent of clopidogrel use: a nationwide cohort study. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Sep 21;153(6):378-86.

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