prescription%20drugsThe October, 2009 issue of AARP bulletin listed the 50 most prescribed drugs in the U.S. in 2008.  At first look, one might scroll through the list and see where the prescriptions that they take fall in the line-up.  As I was reading through the list,  I saw a pattern emerging; a very disturbing one.  I totalled the numbers for prescriptions for the same ailments and came up with the four leading ones:

#4 – The number of prescriptions written for Type II Diabetes 40.1 million! = 1.78 billion dollars in pharmaceutical sales.

#3 – Americans must be in a lot of pain, because doctors wrote 214.7 million prescriptions for pain medications; another 1.78 billion dollars.

#2 – Apparently we needed 238 million prescriptions for depression and/or anxiety, for a cool 2.4 billion dollars for the drug industry.

#1 – And, I’ll bet you can guess what the doctors were busy scribbling on their prescription pads.  You got it!  3 billion dollars were spent on meds to treat hypertension or better known as high blood pressure.

America is sick!  And you know what the saddest fact about it is?  All four of these diseases could be avoided or controlled with an active lifestyle, regular exercise, healthy eating, rest, and de-stressing.    Now, before you jump all over me, let me say that I recognize that prescription medications are absolutely necessary in many situations.  I don’t have a thyroid, so I have to take Synthroid the rest of my life.  I am a Fibromyalgia sufferer, so without medication, my body will not function.  But, there are many meds that doctors have tried to force on me that I don’t need and refuse to take.  Others are pre-disposed, by genetics, to certain diseases. So, I do know there are those of us who require medication.  My furor and passion rests with the meds that we don’t need,  and the fact that by living healthier many could be avoided.   This is what gets me riled!

For twenty plus years, I have preached, encouraged, cajoled, and begged people to adopt these principles of healthy living.  I’m tired of it!  I’m tired of spending my hard earned tax dollars on people who don’t help themselves.  None of us can whine or pound our fists over healthcare reform.  We’ve already spoken…loud and clear…with the state of our health!  We’re LAZY, LAZY, LAZY!  In my opinion, if we aren’t personally doing anything to improve our health, we can’t expect the government to bail us out of our illness.

Just look at the billions of dollars we are spending to fund an industry that consistently rapes us.  The pharmaceutical industry spends millions of dollars per year to provide meals and other niceties to our physicians, who in turn write their prescriptions, and pass out their samples, with little or no knowledge of what that poison can ultimately do to our bodies.  Without question, we accept it.

A couple of years ago, I went to my doctor.  I told her that I wanted to come off some medication that had been prescribed a few years earlier, for menopausal symptoms and fibromyalgia.  Instead, she wanted to add two new meds!  I questioned her and refused the meds.  I had already researched those particular meds and wasn’t having anything to do with them.  I took myself off the meds and went to a natural approach.  I’m doing great!

Lower blood pressure is a walk-in-the-park, literally.  Exercise helps to decrease blood pressure.  It decreases the risk of Type II Diabetes, and if you already have it, it will decrease your need for medications.  Exercise boosts endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killer.  Exercise improves mood, lessens feelings of depression, and decreases symptoms of pre and post-menopause.  You’ll sleep better, look better, and feel better about yourself if you will exercise.

Seventy percent of all illness is caused by stress.  De-stress!  Practice deep breathing and relaxation.  Do yoga, Pilates, go for a walk, stretch, light those candles, soak in the tub, go to a movie, dance…whatever it takes to relieve stress, do it!

Take time for your spiritual health.  My mother used to sing a song, “Whisper a prayer in the morning.  Whisper a prayer at noon.  Whisper a prayer in the evening.  It will keep your heart in tune.” 

I didn’t set out to get my preach-on , but if that’s what it takes to get you to the altar of repentance from sick habits, then it’s worth you getting upset with me.  I care about you!

I realize there is illness that we must take medications for, but I do believe that there are many ways we can avoid them.  Determine right this minute that you will make a concerted effort to do your part to get healthier by adopting a healthier lifestyle.  Think of what we could do with those billions of dollars we would save on medications.  We could pay for healthcare for those who really need it.  We could pay off some of our national debt.  We could…..

6 thoughts on “We’re Killing Ourselves

  1. Pam:

    It’s obvious by your post how passionate you feel about being physically active and taking the necessary steps to be and remain healthy. On the whole, I agree with you that there is so much we need to be doing as a nation to become healthier – not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally.

    The caveat in that statement is that we need to strike a balance between passion and judgment. As someone with a chronic, progressive disease of the pancreas that causes significant pain, I am one of those people who relies on pain medication. Trust me when I say that I would like nothing better than to be able to go through my days never having to take another pain med. The reality is, however, that for me to live an optimum life, it is as necessary for me as hiking through the woods or spending time at the gym.

    What we don’t want to do is stigmatize people who truly need prescription medications for depression, hypertension, and diabetes that does not respond to diet and lifestyle modifications. In our zeal for natural alternatives over prescription medications we must be mindful not to lose our compassion. It’s not really and either/or situation – for some people it’s both.

    Evelyn Kalinosky

  2. Dear Pam,
    I love your passion about this vitally important topic so preach away–I’m listening and appreciating all you have to say.
    You are so right about the over medicating of our society. Apparently it’s gotten so bad that even our water supply is affected. Water treatment plants aren’t set up to filter out all the drugs we excrete. Therefore, they’re recycled and we’re all taking them whether or not we want to.
    Talk about swine flu–this is a real epidemic!

  3. Pam,

    I have a girlfriend who takes 28 pills per day for different ailments. When I asked her how she knows if they’re really working she said she didn’t but the doctors say she needs them. I am freaked out over taking three pills a day but the good thing about it is my doctor always says we’re working so I wont have to take them anymore. I think we, as Americans, think pills are a cure all for everything that ails us–but if we’d get our behinds off of our sofas and from in front of our computers and tv’s and get out and do some exercise while eating healthy–you would see a change in this crisis. As you’ve often said, it should be about PREVENTION and not PRESCRIPTION.

  4. It’s a real topic of interest, and even though I don’t know the ‘stats’ for down here, can only imagine we are pretty much ‘on-par’ these days.

    I love your passion, and am one of those who has had to rely on medication {Epilepsy & more recently, Blood-pressure} most of my life…..just recently, my doctor had to remove one dosage of Dilantin as my blood-levels showed signs of poisoning!!! Scary! I was successful in eliminating one other anti-epileptic drug, simply because doctors found it to be too costly to continue making!! Go figure.

  5. .I’m tired of spending my hard earned tax dollars on people who don’t help themselves.

    Yes! Thin the herd of the sickly and we will all be better off.
    And who will be in charge of the Death Squad?

    I have paid my tax dollars times 10 and will gladly pay more for my well being, for your well being, for my fat friend’s well being — for society’s well being.

    .go for a walk, stretch, light those candles, soak in the tub, go to a movie, dance.

    Just tell me how to walk, stretch – I would love to. I would light a candle but what if it ever tipped…. I’d love to get in a tub — so bad, but I cannot – and I am of ideal weight.

    I have another prayer for the author to consider – There but for Grace of G-d go I.

    Scary stuff!


  6. Dear Jose,

    Thank you for your comments. However, if you had read carefully, you would have understood that my frustration lies with those who are phyiscally able to do something to improve their health. My desire is to make the sickly healthier. The money saved on prescription drugs could be used to help those who are in real need of medication.

    I have been in this industry for 20 plus years. I’ve worked with every age population, and many special populations, including those with diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight, elderly, feeble elderly, lung disease, those who have had heart attacks, strokes, and every other possible ailment. I KNOW what regular exercise can do to help people. I maintain and conclude that America is generally unhealthy because we are lazy. Regardless of your lot in life, one can move thier body, al-be-it seated, lying down, standing, in a body of water…however. Even, if it only means moving their arms.. that can improve circulation and health.

    Stretching is easy. Simply lengthen any body part/muscle and hold it for a number of seconds.

    My point with relaxation is to find something to do that brings you peace, joy, and a few minutes to be quiet and relax…destress. I merely made a few suggestions.

    I do believe in the grace of God. I am a believer. We are to have compassion on those in need, and I do. And..”But for the grace of God….I HAVE been there.” I’m a cancer survivor. I have dedicated my life to helping those who need it, and even those who don’t. After this many years of educating and informing people of healthier lifestyles, there is little more I can do to inspire change. I can’t force them to take care of their health.

    I do wish you health, joy, and completeness in knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord and Saviour.



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