Just turn on the television for a few minutes and channel surf. In no time, chances are that you will find a commercial for some type of pharmaceutical drug be it for lowering cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes, inflammation, hormones, or antacids. You could even flip through any magazine and find numerous ads there as well. We are inundated by the messages from companies who provide “solutions” to our medical problems. Or are they really the “solutions” we need?
After every advertisement, especially print, you find pages of small print covering side effects, potential side effects, precautions, and risks of taking that particular pharmaceutical. It’s almost like a tradeoff – one problem is addressed but four others have taken its place. Still, at the end of the day, the original problem still exists because if no other changes are made and the drug is no longer taken, the problem presents itself once again – cholesterol elevates, blood sugar increases. Ironically, those prescription medications are only supposed to temporarily alleviate the problem because one needs to take the proper dose to keep it at bay.
Let’s take a look at several major classifications of medications, what they are typically prescribed for, and their side effects:
- Statin – prescribed to lower cholesterol by reducing the amount the liver produces, yet cholesterol is necessary for the normal function of every cell in the body. Typical side effects of statins include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and muscle pain. Rhabdomyolysis, a serious side effect of statins, is the rapid destruction of skeletal muscle that causes muscle weakness and pain. Common brand names – Lipitor and Zocor.
- Metformin – prescribed to treat Type 2 Diabetes to help control high blood sugar levels. Typical side effects include abdominal discomfort, lower back or side pain, cough or hoarseness, fever or chills, and sleepiness. Common brand names – Glucovance, Glucophage XR.
- Anti-Inflammatory – also known as non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which are used to treat inflammation caused by chronic conditions and injuries. Typical side effects include vomiting, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headache, and drowsiness. Common brand names – Celebrex and Toradol.
- Bio-Identical Hormones – prescribed for menopausal women to alleviate symptoms by supplementing hormone levels. Also known as Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT), the hormones created are chemically identical to those your body produces through a process called compounding. Compounding allows the BRHT to be specifically made for the individual vs a “one size fits all” approach. Typical side effects include acne, irritability, bloating, cramping, spotting, and breast tenderness. Common brand names – Climara Pro and Estrogel.
- Antacids & Proton Inhibitors – used to treat heartburn, gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD), and gastric ulcers caused by stomach acid that is either overproduced or in the wrong place. Typical side effects include fracture risk, pneumonia risk, C-diff infections, and Iron and B12 deficiencies. Common brand names – Prilosec and Nexium.
Did you know that there is another way to improve your health without resorting to a prescribed drug if you suffer from any of the conditions above? It’s true. And while it might require a little effort on your part, it will do more that simply applying a temporary “fix” to your symptoms. This other way will have lasting, positive, long-term effects on your life that will address the source of your symptoms.
- High Cholesterol – Make dietary changes, eliminating processed foods, sugary drinks, and high fat options.
- Type 2 Diabetes – Control your food intake. By taking full responsibility for what you eat you will eliminate the need to be on medication.
- Inflammation – Reduce diet of processed foods and sodas, increase your water intake (optimal 1/2 body weight in ounces), and increase omega 3’s (i.e. fish and cod oil, flax).
- Menopause – Utilize saliva testing to find the root cause of hormonal imbalances which can be balanced through diet and nutritional supplements.
- Heartburn/Reflux/Ulcers – When the amount of stomach acid is at the correct level, these things are not an issue. Increasing betain chloride through supplementation is one way of increasing the stomach acid production, correcting this problem. However, ulcers (damage to the stomach wall) will be worsened with the increased stomach acid. Therefore, the stomach lining must be healed first through a proper diet, nutrition, and supplements to heal the lining of the stomach.
The ability to change your life rests in your two hands. Stop the merry-go-round effect that relying on prescription medicine is the solution, when in reality it is only a band-aid that masks the root of the problem.