Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Something Fishy

Omega-3 or fish oil has long been recommended to reduce blood cholesterol levels. I started on them when my body started seizing up (abdominal and leg cramps) with statins...all of them. It was later found that I could take Zetia, but that isn't a statin at all. So what was the answer to my high cholesterol levels---fish oil. I presently take Lovanza, which is prescription strength Omega 3, and four 100mg capsules of triple omega (over the counter) every day. Plus, I'm eating a Mediterranean/Almost Vegetarian  diet.

So for the cost of the prescription, the over the counter omega, and the dietary changes, has there been any change in my bad cholesterol numbers? Very little. Granted, I got closer to the magic 100 mg level on statins, but I felt like crapola. But remember my blog on alternative (Voodoo) medicine? Omega 3 is a dietary supplement according to the FDA. Hmm, it got me looking up what 4 mg of Fish oil was doing to my body. I might mention that I also eat fish three times a week also.
Fish oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people, including pregnant and breast-feeding women, when taken in low doses (3 grams or less per day). There are some safety concerns when fish oil is taken in high doses. Taking more than 3 grams per day might keep blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding.

High doses of fish oil might also reduce the immune system’s activity, reducing the body’s ability to fight infection. This is a special concern for people taking medications to reduce their immune system’s activity (organ transplant patients, for example) and the elderly.

Only take high doses of fish oil while under medical supervision.

Fish oil can cause side effects including belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash, and nosebleeds. Taking fish oil supplements with meals or freezing them can often decrease these side effects.

Consuming large amounts of fish oil from some DIETARY sources is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Some fish meats (especially shark, king mackerel, and farm-raised salmon) can be contaminated with mercury and other industrial and environmental chemicals, but fish oil supplements typically do not contain these contaminants.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Liver disease: Fish oil might increase the risk of bleeding in people with liver scarring due to liver disease.
Fish or seafood allergy: Some people who are allergic to seafood such as fish might also be allergic to fish oil supplements. There is no reliable information showing how likely people with seafood allergy are to have an allergic reaction to fish oil. Until more is known, advise patients allergic to seafood to avoid or use fish oil supplements cautiously.
Bipolar disorder: Taking fish oil might increase some of the symptoms of this condition.
Depression: Taking fish oil might increase some of the symptoms of this condition.
Diabetes: There is some concern that taking high doses of fish oil might make the control of blood sugar more difficult.
High blood pressure: Fish oil can lower blood pressure and might cause blood pressure to drop too low in people who are being treated with blood pressure-lowering medications.
HIV/AIDS and other conditions in which the immune system response is lowered: Higher doses of fish oil can lower the body’s immune system response. This could be a problem for people whose immune system is already weak.
An implanted defibrillator (a surgically placed device to prevent irregular heartbeat): Some, but not all, research suggests that fish oil might increase the risk of irregular heartbeat in patients with an implanted defibrillator. Stay on the safe side by avoiding fish oil supplements.
Familial adenomatous polyposis: There is some concern that fish oil might further increase the risk of getting cancer in people with this condition. (According to Web MD, NIH website)

Now some of this just sounds scary.Fish oil may sound harmless but looking at this list makes me wonder. While I don't have a lot that falls in the Special precautions or warnings, I do have a few like high blood pressure, a spongy liver leftover from my drinking days way past, diabetes (now in remission), and depression. It raises some flags with me.

Will I chance coming off the fish oils? No, not without some definite signs that it's worsening these conditions. The fear of another heart attack or stroke keeps me on the oil. Considering I've had both in the past, I sure don't want to repeat it caused by higher cholesterol. I may not survive a second heart attack or third stroke.

That's my two cents worth and with inflation...a dollar.

On a personal note, today would have been my husband's 67th birthday. A few days ago would have been our silver anniversary. A few more milestones hit in my first year of grief. "Happy anniversary and birthday, babe. I wish you were here."

Nothing is impossible.

3 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jo - trying to read through all the bumph must be so difficult and frustrating. Good luck with your decision to keep with the fish oil.

It's no an easy time of year for you ... your husband's birthday - I'm sorry he's not around for you ... and then missing your silver wedding anniversary ... I'm glad you letting life take you along with it ... while you recover from your grief ... with happy blessings for the Fall ... Hilary

Zan Marie said...

I take fish oil by doctor's suggestion and my cholesterol is low--thanks for inheritance. {{{hugs}}} for all your "first" year events. It's a journey as all take one time of other.

Barb Polan said...

So sorry you have to experience these anniversaries. I hope they get easier as time goes by. Hugs.