Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen
Heart attack and stroke linked to long-term antibiotic use
When actress Cameron Diaz, 46, was young, she had acne: “I had terrible skin … I tried to get rid of it with medication: oral, topical, even the harshest prescriptions.” Then she realized her body was sending her a message. “Acne was my body’s … way of telling me to stop eating fast food,” she said.
Smart, Cameron. Certain fast foods — such as those with saturated fat, simple carbs and salt — cause acne. While antibiotics are sometimes the go-to Rx for acne, it turns out women may want to think twice before committing to long-term use of antibiotics for non-life-threatening conditions.
A study of 36,500 women published in the European Heart Journal found that those over age 60 who took antibiotics for two-plus months were 32% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and women 40-59 taking long-term antibiotics are at a 28% increased risk. The most common reasons for the prescriptions were respiratory and urinary tract infections and dental care. Did you know that the amount of antibiotics prescribed to women 35-54 is 40% higher than is prescribed to men the same ages?
How does long-term antibiotic use harm the cardiovascular system? By narrowing blood vessels, making heart attack and stroke more likely, and by disrupting your gut microbiome, which weakens your immune response and increases inflammation.
Now, you may need antibiotics to treat bacterial pneumonia or persistent UTIs, but before starting any course, ask your doctor about other options or about taking antibiotics for a shorter duration.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.