It’s the unspoken truth about aging. Most doctors know it, but few will admit it out loud.
Many of the conditions we associate with aging and complaints we dismiss as “just getting older” have nothing to do with our age. At least not directly.
Sure, things like fatigue, memory issues, muscle pain, and more showed up as you added candles to your birthday cake. But something else showed up too. The real culprits behind why you feel so crummy a lot of the time.
It’s because of your meds.
Here in America (and many other Western nations), we overmedicate our seniors. In fact, the most common prescription drugs given to America’s seniors can wallop you with side effects.
But because those side effects often match what we think of as a normal part of aging, they’re often written off as “just what happens” as you grow older.
Well, I’ve got news, my friend. They’re not normal, and they’re not just what happens as we get older. Plus, you can take steps that could help stop them from happening to you.
It starts with knowing the most common side effects of the most popular meds given to seniors today. And then learning better options for addressing the conditions they’re usually prescribed for.
3 common meds with sickening side effects
All drugs have potential side effects. But some are worse than others. And then some are downright infamous for them.
Leading that pack are three classes of drugs that most seniors are familiar with. But troublesome side effects aren’t the only thing these meds have in common. In many cases, dosages can be lowered or dropped altogether when alternative treatments are used.
But remember, you should never quit a drug on your own. So first, take a look at the potential drug side effects below. And if you think you are battling any of them yourself, then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss getting off of them.
Blood pressure meds:
Blood pressure drugs are some of the worst when it comes to side effects. They can make you feel weak, light-headed, and downright dizzy. And that can put you at serious risk for falling.
Regardless of your age, a fall can cause a serious injury. But for seniors taking a tumble can be life-altering. Some older folks never recover.
And that’s just scratching the side-effects surface. There’s a laundry list of other potential problems, including nausea, fatigue, and, for certain meds, even an annoying persistent cough.
There are effective natural options that can lower blood pressure. In some cases, taking one or more of them could reduce your blood pressure enough to lower the dosage on your BP med. It may even be possible to drop the drug altogether.
The mineral potassium tops the list, and the nutrient lycopene and the amino acid L-carnitine.
They may even work better than meds in certain situations but without the side effects. Check out my earlier report for three MORE natural blood pressure solutions.
A good number of folks taking statins experience muscle pain. And in most of those cases, it isn’t a mild ache. It’s debilitating.
The muscle pain is often a sign of low coenzyme Q10 levels. In fact, it’s one of the few times doctors freely recommend supplements as a result.
Plus, basement low cholesterol levels could trigger a potentially deadly stroke. Talk about extreme side effects.
But here’s the thing that your doctor will likely never tell you.
You don’t even need a statin in many cases because LDL alone isn’t the problem. Most “fluffy” LDL particles pass through blood vessels harmlessly. It’s the smaller, dense, oxidized cholesterol particles that you need to be concerned about
And as I have explained here before, many doctors don’t even understand this. That means they’re often looking at the wrong number, which can have serious health consequences.
But in situations when you have to cut your cholesterol, there are still some far safer options to consider. These include astaxanthin, red yeast rice, and Indian gooseberry. As well as some basic diet and lifestyle tweaks.
Somewhere along the way, Xanax, or alprazolam, became the go-to anxiety med for millions of Americans.
And many have learned the hard way that this drug can come with unwelcome side effects. Those can include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and more. And if you happen to be a senior, your risk for those side effects may even be higher.
Better options for battling anxiety include valerian root and Rhodiola rosea (also known as roseroot). And recent research confirmed the mood-lifting power of mild exercise. Researchers found that the levels of “feel good” hormones skyrocketed in a group of volunteers who used resistance bands or pedaled on a stationary bike.
So never underestimate the healing power of a long walk, a daily swim, or some chair aerobics. The only side effects you’re likely to experience are a good mood and maybe losing a few pounds.
When side effects outweigh the benefits
Although the drugs in these three categories are some of the worst offenders when it comes to troubling side effects, they’re far from the only ones. For example, any meds in the class known as anticholinergic drugs should be steered clear of too.
Anticholinergic side effects can be especially dangerous for seniors. These drugs include favorites such as Benadryl and medications for overactive bladder.
Common side effects can be confusion, blurred vision, hallucinations, and dementia. Check online or ask your doctor for a complete list of these drugs.
And if you’re taking multiple meds, ongoing health issues, including pain, fatigue, weakness, and more, could be caused by their combined effect. It’s a good idea to schedule a brown-bag appointment with your doctor at least once a year to combat this.
This is when you dump ALL your medications into a bag and go over each with your doc. You can then weed out any you no longer need and discuss alternatives.