Downes  

Drug-Induced Trouble: Senility

For many Americans what was to be the Golden Years are becoming the Frail years. Nursing homes are filled with frail, feeble residents suffering from dementia. . I'm going to let you in on a secret: Many of these patients do not have dementia. Their memory loss, confusion, and delirium are caused by prescription drugs!

This is not speculation. It is fully documented in the medical journals. In fact, it's so common that there are even medical terms for it. Like "polypharmacy," which means giving a patient too many different drugs. And "iatrogenic illness," which means an illness caused by doctors.

According to medical journals, polypharmacy and iatrogenic illness predominate the senior population Studies have shown

  • one of the major causes of falls in nursing homes is the side effects caused by medications.
  • 97% of nursing home patients take at least one drug, with 17% taking 5 or more!
  • many drugs can cause Parkinson's-like symptoms and concluded that "drug-induced Parkinsonism is frequent."
  • 22 different categories of drugs that can cause symptoms that mimic Alzheimer's... plus 14 different over-the-counter drugs that can cause those symptoms!

All to often it starts with a doctor prescribing cholesterol lowering drugs. These drugs cause deterioration of brain cells, as well as causes other side effects.. This leads his doctor to give him a second drug to treat those side effects. Most commonly in men, cholesterol lowering drugs cause erectile dysfunction which leads to yet another prescription. But, of course, this next drug causes new side effects. Before you know it, the person's health is spiraling downward and he soon needs people to take care of him. And everyone just chalks it up to "old age."

Recently, I heard 74-year-old woman who was turned down by three different long-term heath care plans, even though she passed their physical exam. The reason given was that she was taking too many prescriptions. Yes, the insurance companies risk managers know that if this woman continues to take these drugs, it's on ly a matter of time before her health deteriorates. They don't want to carry the financial risk of her on-coming near certain poor health.

Fortunately we are in an age of awareness and self advocacy. You have choices of staying well and preventing problems.. When health issues arise consult with a holistic physician to get well, not just to ameliorate symptoms and start new long term problems. Pharmaceuticals should be a last resort, not a first option.

If you have family on multiple medications who are not doing well, be sure to find a holistic physician to consult and carefully discern which medicines are necessary and which may well be eliminated. Functional Medicine has protocols for regaining brain function that may be dormant due to under nourishment and drug toxicities. The power of our brains is at risk in these over-medicated times, and the power of our brain is our very power to live and live well.

If you need help finding a capable doctor in your area, I would be most eager to assist you in finding a doctor I trust to take care of you or your loved one.

 

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