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Is it true that moderate alcohol.

Q Is it true that moderate alcohol consumption can be somewhat beneficial to women who have rheumatoid arthritis?

A A recent study showed that women who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol--more than four glasses of alcohol weekly--had a 37 percent lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) than women who drank one or fewer glasses of alcohol weekly. And women who drank more than three glasses of alcohol weekly had a 52 percent lower risk than women who never drank alcohol. Results were based on a study of 34,000 Swedish women between 1987 and 1997, with follow-up from 2003 to 2009, during which time 197 new cases of RA were identified. Moderate alcohol consumption is also thought to be protective against heart disease, according to an article published in the British Medical Journal in 2012.

Q I feel as if I'm in a constant state of "agida" and have difficulty sleeping at night. Because of the lack of sleep, I'm irritable the next day. This has been going on for months. What could be the problem?

A You may be suffering from anxiety disorder, You by persistent worrying that ultimately causes excess distress, disrupts your daily activities and lasts for six months or longer. Other symptoms of this disorder include trouble concentrating or remembering, and physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, pounding pulse, gastrointestinal upsets, frequent urination, fatigue, and muscle tension. Consult your physician as soon as you can so these symptoms don't become disabling. It's possible your symptoms are related to a medical condition, such as a thyroid abnormality, or even dietary factors, such as too much caffeine. Other ways to reduce or alleviate symptoms include relaxation techniques; regular exercise; avoiding substances such as caffeine, nicotine and over-the-counter cold medications; taking part in enjoyable, absorbing activities; and facing your problems and dealing with them. In addition, antidepressants might be helpful in the short term. The sooner you take steps to deal with your anxiety, the sooner it can be alleviated.

Q Why has the Food and Drug Administration 4 (FDA) issued new guidelines for the sleep aid drug zolpidem?

A Zolpidem (generic), sold also under brand names Ambien, Ambien CR (extended release), Edluar (sublingual, which means under the tongue), and Zolpimist (oral spray), has been found to cause next-morning impairment for activities that require patients to be alert, including driving. Women appear to be more vulnerable to this risk because their bodies eliminate zolpidem more slowly. As a result, the FDA is requiring the manufacturer to revise the labeling to lower the recommended dose of zolpidem for women and to consider a lower dose for men. Recommended doses for women are reduced to 5 milligrams (mg) from 10 and from 12.5 to 6.24 mg for extended release products. The FDA has for some years received anecdotal evidence of incidents associated with zolpidem. However, recent data from clinical trials have led the FDA to recognize the increased risk of driving-impaired blood levels in women. Other insomnia medications are undergoing evaluation as well.

Q I eat a diet lower in cholesterol than my husband, but my LDL ("bad") cholesterol is higher. Why is this? How much does the cholesterol in your diet affect the cholesterol levels in the blood?

A The effect of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol is a completely individual phenomen. Some people are "hyper-producers" of cholesterol. This means that their livers tend to synthesize too much cholesterol, and their blood cholesterol levels tend to be high, regardless of dietary intake. Others are "hyper-absorbers," meaning that their serum cholesterol levels are very dependent on dietary intake. Your information suggests that your cholesterol levels are more dependent on genes than diet. In any case, it makes sense to maintain a low-cholesterol diet and to consider lipid-lowering therapy, including statins or niacin. Consult your physician to see what he/she recommends.
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Publication:Duke Medicine Health News
Article Type:Interview
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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