Every hospital in America has witnessed it in the last few years. There’s been a stunning rise in the number of patients rushed in, with everything going wrong all at once.
They’re tired… in pain… swollen… struggling to breathe… and so confused they barely know where they are.
ER docs might’ve needed advanced testing to figure out what’s going on in the past. Today, they still run the tests, of course. But they often know exactly what’s happening even before the results come in.
It’s acute kidney injury. And it’s suddenly so common that it now accounts for a full one percent of all hospital admissions. Over the past 20 years, cases have skyrocketed from less than 1 million a year to more than 4 million.
That’s a new case every eight seconds.
Now, the latest research reveals one potential cause for at least some of that surge. It’s NOT your age, overall health, or anything else that might usually get the blame.
It’s your medications.
These meds can PUNCH you in the kidneys
Drugs can start to seem like a stack of Pringles past a certain age: You can’t have just one.
Most seniors are on at least several meds. And many take fistfuls of pills every day to manage their various ailments and conditions.
Yet those drugs are seldom studied in combination. Honestly, it’s downright infuriating. And not at all acceptable. They’re literally drugging us straight down a path into the ER.
Now, we’re getting a glimpse at an all-too-common combo of three drugs that can deliver a sledgehammer to your kidneys. The first two are so widely used you probably know someone taking them both. And that someone might even be you.
- Drug #1 is a diuretic, aka a “water pill.” You know, the one that keeps you running to the bathroom all day.
- Drug #2 is a common class of blood pressure meds called renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors. These include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB).
Few people take either one of those meds temporarily. They’re typically daily maintenance drugs, and once you start taking them, it’s often for life.
Drug #3 isn’t typically a daily drug. But millions use it frequently, and you probably have it in your own medicine chest.
It’s the painkiller ibuprofen.
When you’re on those other two meds, taking ibuprofen can be like dropping a match into a tank ready to explode. And Ground Zero is inside your kidneys.
This combo, the new study finds, can raise your risk of acute kidney injury by 31 percent. And that’s a risk you simply DON’T have to live with.
A better way to cut blood pressure
Millions of Americans who take blood pressure meds may not actually need them.
That’s not just my opinion. There’s a raging debate right now within even conventional medicine circles. Many experts are convinced that far too many seniors are being treated for BP levels that aren’t all that high.
In fact, many older folks can simply “live with” stage 1 hypertension as the side effects of the meds – including the risk of falls – can often be worse than any supposed danger of slightly elevated blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor if you think you may be in that category yourself.
But even when your BP is high enough to need treatment, that doesn’t always have to mean medication and endangering your kidneys. Basic lifestyle changes – a daily walk… switching to a Mediterranean diet… minor weight loss – can bring blood pressure down even more effectively than many drugs.
Supplements could also help. L-carnitine cut nearly 8 points off blood pressure in one study, while lycopene has delivered a similar benefit in other studies.
Talk to a naturopathic physician about the best options for your own situation.
And one more word of warning. Even if you aren’t currently on one of the blood pressure meds I mentioned earlier, you might want to toss that bottle of ibuprofen.
These innocent-looking drugs can contribute to other frightening complications besides damaging your kidneys. See my special report, “The 3 DEADLIEST risks of common ibuprofen,” for the whole troubling story.