Medicine in the News

Living with Purpose Adds Years to Your Life

What Gives Your Life Meaning?

Medicine in the News

life meaning of life
Image: © MOMOTAROU

Diagnosis Life keeps you in the know with the latest in health and wellness. Here are three of the hottest medical stories making the rounds, in simple terms.

  1. Find life purpose and live longer.

    Diagnosis Life summary:
    What is the meaning of life? Opinions will vary from person to person, but finding a purpose in life could be the answer. A study in JAMA Network Open (DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.4270) followed nearly 7,000 seniors (50 and older) over a decade. Each participant completed a psychological questionnaire that assessed well-being and life purpose. Those who scored highest on the questionnaire, i.e., those who felt their life had purpose, lived longer than those who scored lowest. Specifically, low scorers were 2.43 times more likely to have died by the end of the study from any cause, 2.66 times more likely when looking at heart, circulatory, and digestive diseases. We may not always be able to control our genetics or our lot in life, but we can make a point to engage in the life we are given. Every life matters. Challenge yourself. Find something to inspire you. When you feel you have something to live for, you live longer.

  2. Energy drinks may cause changes on your EKG.

    Diagnosis Life summary:
    Energy drinks are chockfull of caffeine, and there have been concerns that high levels of caffeine consumed in short intervals of time could increase the risk for cardiac arrhythmias. An article in the Journal of the American Heart Association (DOI:10.1161/JAHA.118.011318) looked to see how energy drinks affected the EKG of 34 adults (18 to 40 years old). The study participants drank an energy drink or a placebo drink over 1 hour and then had their blood pressure and EKG monitored over 4 hours. Each energy drink was 32 oz. and contained 300 mg of caffeine (as a reference, the average 8 oz. cup of coffee has 90 mg). The researchers noted a 5 mmHg rise in blood pressure and an increase in the QTc interval (a finding that increases the risk for cardiac arrhythmia) on the EKGs of those who drank the energy drinks. If you already have high blood pressure or have risk factors for arrhythmia, it may be prudent to lay off the energy drinks. 

  3. PPI therapy increases your risk for an earlier death.

    Diagnosis Life summary:
    Odds are you have experienced heartburn or acid reflux at some time in your life. Treatments include antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Medications in the PPI category include esomeprazole (Nexium), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Prevacid), and rabeprazole (AcipHex). A study in BMJ (DOI:10.1136/bmj.l1580) unfortunately found complications from long-term use of these medications. More than 200,000 veterans, both men and women, were followed over 10 years after they were prescribed either an H2 blocker or PPI for at least 90 days. Those who had taken PPI had a higher risk of death (46 more deaths for every 1000 people) as a result of cardiovascular disease or kidney disease. That risk increased the longer they were on PPI therapy. These medications should only be used when they are medically indicated and for the shortest duration of time necessary.

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