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Common hypertension drugs linked to skin cancer risk

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KATHMANDU — In a new study, the researchers have identified clear connection between the use of hypertension medicine and the chance of developing skin cancer.

Long term use of drugs that help lower high blood pressure may increase the risk of developing skin cancer, a recently published research from The University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Cancer Society, has claimed.

Specifically, this refers to drugs containing hydrochlorothiazide and squamous cell carcinoma. Hydrochlorothiazide — one of the most commonly used antihypertensive drugs worldwide — is a thiazide diuretic (water pill) that helps prevent your body from absorbing too much salt, which can cause fluid retention.

In the study, published in the Journal of the American Association of Dermatology, the team observed nearly 80,000 participants and found a connection between hypertension and skin cancer.

The findings revealed that using medicines that contain hydrochlorothiazide increases the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma — skin cancer that develops in the cells of the outer layer of the skin — up to seven times.

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“We knew that hydrochlorothiazide made the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun’s UV rays, but what is new and also surprising is that long term use of this blood pressure medicine leads to such a significant increase in the risk of skin cancer,” said Anton Pottegard, associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark.

The researchers had previously demonstrated that hydrochlorothiazide can increase the risk of lip cancer.

However, one should not interrupt the treatment without consulting the doctor, Pottegard suggested, because “hydrochlorothiazide is an effective and otherwise safe treatment for most patients”.

Besides treating hypertension, hydrochlorothiazide is frequently used for the treatment of congestive heart failure, symptomatic edema, diabetes insipidus and renal tubular acidosis.

The pill is also used for the prevention of kidney stones in those who have high levels of calcium in their urine.

“Nevertheless, our results should lead to a reconsideration of the use of hydrochlorothiazide. Hopefully, with this study, we can contribute towards ensuring safer treatment of high blood pressure in the future,” Pottegard noted.

With IANS Inputs

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes. Representational image.

KATHMANDU — It is known that diabetes increase a person’s risk of kidney disease. But, now a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that the converse also is true which means Kidney dysfunction also increases the risk of diabetes.

The researchers deduced that a likely culprit of the two-way relationship between kidney disease and diabetes is urea. The risk may be attributed to the rising level of urea — the nitrogen-containing waste product in blood, which comes from the breakdown of protein in foods.

“We have known for a long time that diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, but now we have a better understanding that kidney disease, through elevated levels of urea, also raises the risk of diabetes,” said the Ziyad Al-Aly, Assistant Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.

The nitrogen-containing waste product in blood comes from the breakdown of protein in foods. Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down.

Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down, resulting in greater insulin resistance as well as secretion in the body.

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“When urea builds up in the blood because of kidney dysfunction, it often results in increased insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion,” Ziyad added.

The findings are significant because urea levels can be lowered through medication, diet — for example, by eating less protein — and other means, thereby allowing for improved treatment and possible prevention of diabetes, the researchers said.

For the study, the team evaluated the records of 1.3 million adults without diabetes over a five-year period, beginning in 2003.

Out of these, 117,000 of those without diabetes — or 9 per cent — had elevated urea levels, signalling poor kidney function and were at 23 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes .

The study, conducted in collaboration with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, is published December 11 in Kidney International journal.

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