Carolyn Dean MD ND | Wednesday, December 21, 2016
“’America’s Other Drug Problem’: Copious Prescriptions for Hospitalized Elderly” is the title of an Aug 30, 2016 Medscape article. You get the gist from the title and it’s a problem that I’ve been writing about for years. As I’ve said many times, when I was in medical school, we were given a healthy respect for powerful medications and told to use them for as short a time as possible. Nowadays most doctors believe in polypharmacy and expect patients to take a handful of drugs for life, many of them as “preventive” measures.
One patient mentioned in the Medscape article was on 36 medications at the time she was admitted to hospital. A doctor commented that “This is actually a little bit alarming.” A LITTLE BIT ALARMING? Lord Sufferin’ Cats!
During my internship, when I did my Geriatrics rotation in a seniors’ nursing home, I spent the long quiet evenings creating a hand-written database (in ancient times before computers) on all the patients and all the drugs they were taking. When I shared the data with the nurses and attending doctors, they were shocked at the number of pills their patients were taking; the contraindications of many of the drugs; and the standing order for drugs that sometimes went on for years. The same thing is happening now; nobody is keeping track as patients see multiple specialists all of whom prescribe drugs without properly cross indexing existing medications.
Polypharmacy has become the norm for conditions like coronary heart disease. Here’s a very common story I hear from clients and customers that I call the Blood Pressure Spiral. Jack is 60, and he goes to his doctor for his annual checkup, who finds that his blood pressure is a little high (probably from stress and low magnesium levels). He is immediately put on a diuretic drug. When he comes back in a month, his pressure is higher. The doctor doesn’t know why, but it’s because Jack’s magnesium is driven even lower by the diuretic. His doctor just thinks he’s caught Jack’s blood pressure early and has to be more aggressive. The doctor puts Jack on two more antihypertensive drugs. A few months later, seemingly out of the blue, but because of lower levels of magnesium, his cholesterol levels are elevated and his blood sugar. The doctor, therefore, puts Jack on a statin drug and a diabetes drug. Both conditions are caused by magnesium deficiency. The fact that doctors think that heart disease is inevitably fatal is because they hasten the process with magnesium-depleting medication.
I don’t like giving bad news without offering a solution and the solution in this case is to have a complete nutritional program.
Call to book a Consultation and a Live Blood Analysis appointment today.
A lot of elderly people are on a so-called nutritional drink called Ensure. Here is an overview of the basic Ensure formula. Ensure is lacking in fat, so it’s not a balanced meal replacement. It provides 180 calories, 9 grams of protein, and 18 grams (4.5 tsp) of sugars per serving.
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