I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. Most importantly, I wish everyone a healthy year. Good health is an essential basis for happiness, fulfillment, and emotional well-being. With that in mind, I would like to urge everyone to pursue natural ways of healing before taking prescription drugs. There is a place for everything and sometimes a drug is necessary. If I were to have surgery, I would be grateful that there are drugs for pain. However, the chronic use of most drugs is best avoided.
I have an aunt who is going to celebrate her 97th birthday in a few weeks. Her mind is sharp, her spirits are excellent, and she still takes college courses! She lives in an assisted living community and participates in all their activities. For precautionary reasons, she recently consented to use a walker. Guess what? Up until last year, she had never taken any long-term drugs. Now she takes a small amount of blood pressure medication. Her doctor wants to put her on a Statin drug because her cholesterol is too high, about 240! She refuses.
I also have a cousin who is 98. She still volunteers at an old-age home to help the "old people". She walks unassisted at a brisk pace and refuses help getting out of the car or going up or down stairs. She's always been careful about her diet, and she exercises every day for 30 minutes; she has never "accepted" any long-term drugs that may have been offered to her (like a statin).
Naturally, genetics plays a role in these cases but, in my opinion, the fact that a kaleidoscope of drugs has never poisoned their systems is also an important factor.
I particularly want to call your attention to two drugs that many people ingest and the possible consequences of taking them. It is important for all of us to be educated about the drugs we are encouraged to take so we can make educated decisions about them and so we can help educate others.
Last week I was at a party where a group of us were talking, and the topic turned to health. The majority of people in the group were on statin drugs! When I asked what their cholesterol was prior to taking the drug, only one had a cholesterol level above 250. Some had been at 200! Cardiologists now recognize that cardiovascular disease is a disease of inflammation, yet none of their doctors had checked the anti-inflammatory markers such as ferritin or homocysteine, etc. (see past newsletter on Statin Drugs and Your Health). None had been put on coenzyme Q 10 (statins deplete this), an essential nutrient for heart health.
The potential side effects of statin drugs include type II diabetes, kidney damage, mental confusion, memory loss, liver damage, muscle aches, muscle weakness, drowsiness, and much more. The ideal cholesterol has always been 222, but too many people at this level are put on statins. The most important indicators of heart health are the inflammatory markers. There are natural methods to lower the inflammation. And, of course, a person's dental health is important. Periodontal disease, mercury fillings, root canals, and cavitations are all inflammatory.
Another widely prescribed group of drugs are those prescribed for high blood pressure, the calcium-channel blockers.
A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine (August 2013) showed that calcium channel blockers could increase the risk of breast cancer by 2 ½ times or more as compared with women who had never taken the drugs. Older women who had been on the drug for at least 10 years had the highest risk. Other types of blood pressure medications did not show this relationship to cancer but, of course, all drugs have potential side effects. If your blood pressure is high, I urge you to see a holistic physician and work naturally to lower it.
For health and longevity, I feel, if possible, that it is best to avoid the chronic use of prescription drugs if at all possible.
Wishing you a happy and HEALTHY holiday season!
© 2013, Mark A. Breiner, DDS