Elizabeth's Blog: The devil is in the details

(WAFB) - For the past few weeks, I've had to adjust my exercise routine.  It's not due to an injury or illness, but because of a potential side effect.

My doctor recently gave me medicine to treat a pesky and persistent sinus infection.  While it is a standard treatment, she warned me before prescribing it that a potential side effect could be a ruptured Achilles tendon.  She also told me that the risk was small and she had never heard of a patient actually having any problems.  Nonetheless, she did advise me to avoid any extra stress to my Achilles such as squats or sprints.  Just in case.

While I realize that the risk is minimal, I did listen and kept my usual runs to a brisk walk.

That's the thing about medicine and health in general.  The devil is in the details, and when you don't read the fine print, the results could be disastrous.

Take for instance, over the counter medications for allergy and cold relief.  Next time you start to mix over the counter antihistamines and other remedies like Nyquil, check the active ingredients.  Many of these medicines share the same ingredients, and many of these ingredients should not be taken in excess.

You should always ask a pharmacist or doctor about what and how much of a medicine you should take.  I still call my pharmacist father every time I have a cold for advice.

When a doctor prescribes a medicine, ask about potential side effects or any changes you should look out for.  For example, a recent article published in Pharmacy Times explains that many citrus juices, especially grapefruit juice, have extreme interactions with medication.

Orange juice, for example, can make an antihistamine less effective.  Grapefruit juice has been known to make some medications more potent, even lethal.

Reading the ingredient label isn't just good for medicine.   It's a valuable diet tool as well.

Last week, I did a heart healthy cooking segment.  The chef pointed out that we often have way too much salt and sodium in our diet, because people don't realize how much sodium is found in our foods.  Too much sodium, as we know, can be very damaging to heart health and lead to high blood pressure.

He suggested you read ever ingredient label, and use fresh produce and foods when possible.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Education is power, and in this case it is essential.  After all, I certainly don't want to be limping around set with an injured Achilles!

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