HEALTH NOTES: Skin creams could lead to brittle bones

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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High doses of drugs used by millions to treat skin conditions such as eczema significantly increase the risk of the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, according to new research.

Investigators found that, when looking at the medical records of 8,000 patients, those using corticosteroids – creams and ointments that constrict blood vessels and dampen inflammation – were at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering a fracture over five years.

Those on the highest-dose steroids were at 34 per cent higher risk of the condition, but even those on low doses saw a 22 per cent increase.

Women appeared to be more prone to problems than men. In the UK it is estimated that one in two women and one in five men aged over 50 will suffer an osteoporotic fracture at some point in their lifetime.

While highly effective and extremely safe, corticosteroids are designed for short-term use as they can cause serious side effects if administered incorrectly. The drugs can alter how the body uses calcium and Vitamin D to build bones leading to bone-loss, osteoporosis and broken bones.

‘Using topical corticosteroids to treat inflammatory skin conditions should be done very carefully and clinicians should be aware of these potential side effects,’ says study author Chia-Yu Chu of the National Taiwan University Hospital.

High doses of drugs used by millions to treat skin conditions such as eczema significantly increase the risk of the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, according to new research.

Going on a pre-Christmas diet could contribute to stress and ill health during the festive season, doctors suggest.

A survey of more than 2,000 people, carried out by private healthcare group Pall Mall Medical, found a third of Britons have attempted to slim down as they’re worried about piling on pounds during the holidays.

On average we consume 6,000 calories on Christmas day – three times the advised limit.

Despite this Dr Mariyam Hassan Malik, a GP at Pall Mall Medical, says dieting may simply contribute to Christmas stress: ‘Finding a balance between festive activities and self-care is key. That includes adequate sleep, exercise and a balanced diet.’

Going on a pre-Christmas diet could contribute to stress and ill health during the festive season, doctors suggest

Going on a pre-Christmas diet could contribute to stress and ill health during the festive season, doctors suggest

Men struggling with long-term pelvic pain might benefit from relaxation techniques and exercises.

The new research, which studied 77 men, found that the majority who stuck to the daily routines had a 25 per cent reduction in symptoms after a year.

Chronic pelvic pain syndrome is a frequent urological diagnosis in men under 50, but the cause tends to be unclear.

Symptoms include testicular pain and discomfort upon ejaculation or urination. Experts say stress could cause men to unconsciously tense pelvic floor muscles which may lead to the problems.

Many men in the trial were on unnecessary antibiotics at the start but were able to reduce these and found relief from exercises alone.

Drug can ‘melt’ fat in arteries 

A drug that ‘melts away’ fat in the arteries could prevent heart attacks and strokes.

A 2017 study by the University of Aberdeen showed the drug, trodusquemine, reversed the build-up of fat inside the blood vessels of mice. Last week, scientists proved it had the same effect in humans. It works by inhibiting the enzyme PTP1B, which contributes a build-up of fat inside artery walls.

Professor James Leiper, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation – which funded the research – said: ‘These are potentially exciting results, but further research will be required.’

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