It’s In the News
with comments by Carol
By Rita Joyce, RN (August 2015)
DEFINITION: Polypharmacy is a concept that is used to describe the use of multiple medications, usage — usually treating multiple, separate diseases. This includes over-the-counter (OTC) and herbal supplements. When more drugs are prescribed than is clinically warranted or when all medications are clinically indicated but there are too many to take — it’s known as “medication burden”. Polypharmacy is a growing concern among health care professionals; too many of us are taking too many medications and the effects are diminishing our quality of life.
The average American is prescribed medications 13 times per year, as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Elders are 13% (percent) of the population and account for 30% (percent) of all drug prescriptions. If an elderly (aging) patient is taking several medications at a time, he is at risk for a drug-related issue. Our aging population may be taking an average of four or five prescription drugs and two OTC medications daily. Aging clients are more likely to be prescribed inappropriate medications that are unnecessary, or potentially dangerous, and to suffer an adverse drug even (ADE). Most ADEs are the result of drug interactions.
Polypharmacy and its consequences is experienced not only by aging clients, but also the general population is at risk. I believe with the younger population, it may take longer for the effects of medications to show up.
I like to empower my patients in assuming responsibility for their health care: 1-always question your healthcare provider about everything you have a question about, 2-write down everything that you want to bring up during your office visit, 3-if need be, bring a family member or friend along as support.
Let’s talk about why we end up taking so many medications
- There are more drugs available which has led to overuse and inappropriate prescribing.
- Many drugs are now available over-the-counter (OTC), so easily available, their use/misuse is on the rise.
- Current reporting suggests some medication studies may not be as accurate as we have been lead to believe, so we are being prescribed medications that have not been correctly or thoroughly tested for both reactions and interactions.
How serious health issues arise from the variety of medications we consume
- Prescribing Cascade: a patient develops side effects from a medication. The health care provider interprets the symptoms, not as a side effect of the drug being taken, but the symptoms of a disease. The health care provider then prescribes yet another drug, creating the potential for even more serious side effects.
- Adverse Drug Reactions and Interactions due to physiological changes as we age: These changes effect pharmacokinetics, what the body does to a drug; as well as pharmacodynamics, what a drug does to the body.
As we age and in order to protect ourselves from our everyday living becoming diminished, we need to have only one health care professional to be responsible for our medication intake. Make a list of every vitamin, mineral, herbal supplement, and OTC pill that you take and KEEP THAT LIST WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. Always give a copy to every health care provider you work with.
The most important lesson for you to learn is to always assume responsibility for your health care. You are responsible for your body and “each health care provider is your paid employee”. You hire them and have the right to question them. And can change providers any time you feel uncomfortable with their care. And remember, it is always appropriate to bring along a second party for support during your office visit.
Rita Joyce, RN, has retired from the healthcare field, but continues to work as a Wellness Coach at AltWatersTM Technologyin Scottsdale, Arizona. Rita often uses the word “saging” (Sage) when speaking about aging because of the wisdom that comes along with the years on the planet that is so often ignored, or not taken into consideration when working with Elders.
Excerpts from Magazines/ Books/ Lectures
WANT TO MAKE "DISEASES DISAPPEAR"?
WATCH THIS TED TALK WITH DR. RANGAN CHATTERJEE:
A good talk by a doctor, transcript follows and video link.
“You see we need to evolve the way that we practice medicine of aetiology not symptomology – the medicine that asks why, not only tells you what. This is personalised medicine, this is precision medicine, this is progressive medicine and actually if you take a step back, this is preventative medicine in its purest form. We have got to stop applying 20th century thinking to 21st century problems, we need to take back control, empower ourselves and re-educate ourselves away from our fear of disease and right back down the curve to optimal health. Because if we do, together, I genuinely believe that we can change not only our health, not only the health of our communities but maybe, just maybe, we could start to change the health of the entire world. Thank you.”
Water Management 101
Information from Dr. F. Batmanghelidj’s books, author unknown *
Water has its own chemical properties. Every function of your body is monitored and pegged to the flow of water. Water is your body’s primary component. It makes up 75% of your body and 85% of your brain.
“Water management” is you body’s way of ensuring that adequate water and nutrients reach the most vital organs first – the ones that have to confront any new stress.
Your brain is the absolute priority and takes the very first resources. It is 1/50th of your total body weight, but receives 18-20% of all blood circulation. If the rest of your body needs to shut down because there isn’t enough water, well then… so be it.
Your “ration masters” (responsible for water regulation) sound an alarm to indicate that the area in question is short on water. Since dehydration causes the loss of bodily functions, these signals from your “ration masters” provide indicators of unknown disease conditions in your body… and the basic mistake plaguing clinical medicine, according to Dr. Batmanghelidj, a medical doctor.
It prevents physicians from being able to advise preventive measures or offer simple physiological cues for some major diseases. Instead, doctors are taught and encouraged to silence these signals with chemical products (called drugs). Thus, they further shut down these indicators of regional thirst and drought within your body.
Comment by Carol… Here’s just one example…
Your brain must be hydrated at all times. So your body, if it lacks water, will do everything possible to keep adequate water supplied to your brain. This means limiting water flow to other areas of the body.
Since simply breathing causes the loss of a significant quantity of water each and every day – depending on the climate in which you live and your level of physical exercise – your lungs can be affected.
If you experience chronic dehydration from drinking insufficient water – or from drinking water-depleting drinks such as coffee, beer, or sugar-laden beverages – your body tries to prevent respiratory water loss by producing histamines which close of the capillaries in your lungs.
By constricting these capillaries, the body reduces water loss. But of course, breathing becomes far more difficult. It’s critical to understand that our body is doing you a big favor. It’s producing histamines as strategy, not as a disease or something gone awry. Your body wants to constrict the capillaries in your lungs because it is trying to save your brain.
What is conventional medicine’s answer to this production of histamines? Well, of course, it is the prescription of antihistamines, or drugs, that are designed to counteract the histamines produced intentionally by your body in order to conserve water.
So, how much water is enough?
According to Dr. B., a 200-pound person needs 100 oz. throughout the day – for getting rid of toxic waste. That’s 12½ cups a day – far more than the 8 cups you often see recommended. And you need more than 100 oz. if you’re active or live in a hot climate. Also more if you drink caffeinated coffee or tea, soda, or alcoholic beverages.
Also, you need more water in the early morning because you were asleep all night – so drink 2-3 glasses of water first thing in the morning when you get up, to rehydrate.
He says the signs of dehydration can include thirst, dark-colored urine, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, agoraphobia (fear of crowds and public places), depression, food cravings, asthma, and allergies.
When you’re dehydrated, all kinds of diseases manifest themselves.
We would like to give credit to the author of this article, who at this time is unknown. This author has done a fine job of sharing key points of the work of, F. Batmanghelidj, M.D., the author of “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water”.