You know that old saying that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing? That description fits like a glove for the simmering prescription medication crisis we have here in the United States.
Our ridiculously complicated approach to medical care has us using propriety computer software systems that don’t talk to each other. Even worse, we’ve siloed our doctors, specialists, and care teams so that they don’t communicate either.
As a result, it’s not at all unusual for a specialist you see for your diabetes to have no clue what treatments your cardiologist is using, for example.
And with far too many docs handing out heavy-duty drugs at the drop of a hat, it’s easy to see how things can spiral out of control fast.
So it’s no wonder we’ve even had to come up with a name to describe the situation many folks find themselves in these days. If you’re juggling five or more meds at a time, you’re a victim of polypharmacy.
Deadly falls in seniors skyrocket
Seniors use 30 to 33 percent of all prescription drugs in the United States. So they’re at the highest risk for things going terribly wrong from that motley mix of meds.
That includes things like adverse reactions and accidental overdoses. But one of the worst polypharmacy side effects is a quietly skyrocketing crisis of its own.
Recent research has revealed falls by seniors have risen at an alarming rate. And far more folks are being seriously hurt and DYING from them.
Deadly falls in seniors have tripled in recent years. In 2016 alone, 25,000 Americans 75+ lost their lives from taking a tumble.
In a study from a few years ago, researchers found that the death rates from falls in…
- older guys jumped from 61 per 100,000 to 116
- older women leaped from 46 per 100,000 to 106
And the more years you have under your belt, the higher your risk rises. Fall death rates are downright devastating in the oldest group of seniors. In folks over 95, it was 595 per 100,000.
Who’s to blame? Well, the medical mainstream wants us to believe it’s you.
You’re a grown person who’s managed to navigate your way through many decades of living. But conventional medicine wants to paint you as an accident-prone toddler who doesn’t recognize your own limits.
That’s just baloney. The blame belongs at their own feet.
Multiple meds can lead to falls
We can indeed become less steady on our feet as we age. But this isn’t a new development.
Aging has always required folks to adapt, including being careful to avoid falls. Exercising, eating plenty of muscle-maintaining foods such as proteins, and being extra cautious in the bathroom where 80 percent of falls occur can help.
But the sudden catastrophic rise in fall injuries and deaths is caused by something else entirely. To find out the real reason for the jump in falls, simply take a look inside your medicine cabinet. The stacks of pills they’re burying seniors under is what’s really to blame.
The average senior is swallowing four drugs a day. But if you’re on more than that, you’re still in good company. An astounding 39 percent of older folks take at least five prescriptions.
And polypharmacy is taking a real toll. Around 28 percent of senior hospitalizations are caused by medications.
Any one of your meds could leave you feeling dizzy, weak, or unsteady on your feet. But single drugs often aren’t to blame. Instead, it’s the combined effect of multiple meds.
Brown bag solution to avoid a tumble
There’s a good chance you don’t need all those drugs. So if you’re swallowing pills by the boatload, make an appointment with your doc to review them.
Take a complete list of all your meds and supplements along. Or simply dump EVERYTHING you’re taking into a brown bag and bring them to your visit with you. Ask why you’re on each medication, what the side effects are, and if you can come off of it or reduce your dosage.
Reducing the number of drugs you’re taking could help you stay steady on your feet, slashing your risk of falls. But that’s not the only potential benefit. You may also find other problems that are often falsely blamed on age are eased too, such as poor digestion, low energy, and memory loss.
Be sure to bring your list of meds and supplements with you on all future doctor’s visits. It could help you avoid being placed on new meds you don’t need or prevent drug interactions.
And be sure to ask these 9 crucial questions before filling a prescription