HEALTHY LIVING — Tips to make sure your meds don’t make you sick – Orange Leader

HEALTHY LIVING — Tips to make sure your medications don’t make you sick

Posted at 12:02 a.m. on Sunday, October 23, 2022

Medicines are a wonderful thing; it saves lives and improves chronic diseases. In most cases, it’s the difference between living and existing.

However, there are well-documented cases where the very drugs that are supposed to help end up causing very serious problems. I’m not just talking about allergic reactions to certain medications.

The term addressed in this column is drug toxicity. Most drugs are eliminated from the body through the kidneys and liver, but from about the fourth decade onwards we begin to accumulate fat and lose muscle mass, accompanied by a gradual decline in the capacity of our kidneys. and our liver to process and eliminate drugs. All of this makes us more prone to drug toxicity.

For this reason, blood tests to measure the function of various organs are done at least once a year and often before changing medications.

Despite the well-established link between aging and drug toxicity, prescribers sometimes fail to equate patient symptoms with an adverse drug reaction, attributing them instead to a new medical condition. Doctors see a lot of patients who present with a general complaint, “I don’t feel well,” or maybe they’re confused and dehydrated, and they attribute it to a viral illness, when in reality, it is caused at least in part by the medications they take.

Some doctors tend to prescribe medication for even mild symptoms, and not all symptoms require medication. The more drugs a patient takes, the more likely one of them will rise to toxic levels, experts report.

Finally, patients often see multiple physicians and often do not disclose all the medications they are taking to all the physicians they see and end up being prescribed similar medications – which when combined can reach levels toxic.

This problem is solved in the medical community by asking you to bring ALL the medications you take, each time you visit each doctor. It’s not at all uncommon to see an elderly person show up at the doctor’s office with a tote bag full of prescription bottles and let’s not forget the over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements you’re taking.

You need to remember to bring everything you ingest, that way your doctor or nurse practitioner can monitor your intake and make sure everything you take is compatible.

As a consumer and guardian of your body, it is your responsibility to read and learn BEFORE putting a new drug into your system. The side effects always seem scary and in most cases they are very mild and the body adjusts after a few doses. But many drugs have side effects that can get worse in a matter of days, to the point of harming your life.

Read everything, there is so much good information on the internet. Remember though that pharmaceutical companies publish a lot of information about their products. Do an internet search for PATIENT NOTICES. This is where you will get the practical information.

Read a lot, not a few. Get a good sample, and if you see any complications that mirror what you’re going through, see your doctor right away and discuss your concerns.

If you’re close to someone who may be having trouble, tell them or their guardian about what you’ve noticed. They may not realize what is happening to them.

Be aware, read and learn, speak and pay attention.

Jody Holton writes about health for Orange Newsmedia. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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