Health Highlights: Oct. 30, 2007

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

More Young Adults Take Cholesterol, Blood Pressure Drugs

The number of young American adults taking cholesterol and blood pressure medications is increasing rapidly, even faster than rates among seniors, says a study released Tuesday by prescription benefit manager Medco Health Solutions Inc.

Between 2001 and 2006, the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs among Medco clients ages 20 to 44 went from 2.5 percent to 4 percent, a 68 percent increase. Translated nationally, that means about 4.2 million Americans in that age group now take cholesterol-lowering drugs, the Associated Press reported.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • More Young Adults Take Cholesterol, Blood Pressure Drugs
    • Concurrent Sexual Partnerships Common Among U.S. Men
    • U.S. Nursing Home Monthly Rates Increased 3 Percent in 2007
    • Wyeth Recalls Several Cold Medicines
    • Transplant Drug May Cause Birth Defects, Miscarriages, FDA Warns
    • Impaired Driving Common Among High School Seniors

The study also found that the use of blood pressure medicines by people in that age group went from 7 percent in 2001 to more than 8 percent in 2006, a 21 percent increase. That suggests that about 8.5 million Americans ages 20 to 44 take blood pressure drugs.

Among Americans 65 and older, the use of cholesterol drugs increased 52 percent and the use of blood pressure drugs increased by 9.5 percent over the same period, the AP reported.

Higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol among young adults, along with more aggressive preventive treatment by doctors, are likely behind that age group's increased use of these drugs, according to experts.

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Concurrent Sexual Partnerships Common Among U.S. Men

Over a one-year period, about 11 percent of 4,928 men included in a study had concurrent sexual relationships, say University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers. They said this type of behavior may be an important contributing factor to the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Rates of concurrent sexual partnerships were higher among black and Hispanic men than in other groups, according to the study. The study also found that men with concurrent partners were more likely: to be unmarried; to have been in jail in the past year; to have had sex while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol; to have had sex with other men; and to have female sex partners who also have concurrent sexual partners.

"All of these findings are cause for concern, because each by itself increases the risk of HIV transmission," lead author Dr. Adaora Adimora, an associate professor in the schools of medicine and public health, said in a prepared statement. "By connecting more people to each other and to people with these risky behaviors, concurrent partnerships may be an important factor in the spread of HIV infection in the United States and in continuing the epidemic transmission of HIV among blacks and Hispanics."

The study is published in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

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U.S. Nursing Home Monthly Rates Increased 3 Percent in 2007

In 2007, the cost of private and semi-private nursing home rooms in the United States increased an average of three percent, says a survey released Tuesday by the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

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