More Americans Are Taking Prescription Medications

See comments by John Cartmell, MS, at end of article.



Study: 70 Percent Of Americans On Prescription Drugs
Researchers find that nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half receive at least two prescriptions.

John Cartmell comments

Any symptom can be made worse and sometimes caused when nutrition is insufficient to maintain health. Drugs cannot correct for such deficiencies.


Study: Americans on Chronic Medicines
May 14, 2008

Drug use for chronic problems has increased in all groups: Almost two thirds of women 20 and older; 52 percent of adult men; and three out of four seniors. The most troubling trend? One fourth of kids and teenagers are dosing regularly.

Capeloto makes a living doling out prescriptions, but he'd like to see his clients eat better, exercise more and take less meds.

"We wait for something to happen and then we treat it instead of being proactive and try to treat the disease before it happens," adds Capeloto.

John Cartmell comments

When my grandparents died in the early 1970s, both in their early 80s, neither of them took any prescription medications. How different things are now, with over 50% of insured Americans reported to regularly take one or more prescription drugs daily. When you consider that any disease symptom can be made worse or caused outright by nutritional deficiencies, and that nutritional concerns are rarely considered by doctors as a factor in disease, one can hardly call the increasing use of medications "progress".

Our modern day "health care" operates more as a "disease care" system, where too often the focus of treatment is on disease symptoms, while routinely overlooking the fact that the single common symptom in every disease is the loss of health. Drug treatments are often beneficial for short term abatement of acute symptoms, but long term use dramatically increases the risk of toxic side effects, which are customarily treated with more drugs. As one drug leads to another, treatment times are increased, driving up the cost of health care and leading the patient further and further down the road to drug treatments and away from the path back to normal health. If health is to be restored in the face of disease, the treatments must include the active promotion of health by ensuring a proper balance of exercise, rest, stable emotions, proper nutrition and minimal exposure to toxins or other substances the patient reacts to.

Many asthma drugs have the potential to cause side effect symptoms of asthma. Drugs commonly prescribed for fibromyalgia have the potential to cause side effects that mimic symptoms of the disease. Drug/nutrient interactions are another common side effect. Look up any medication on and you'll find most drugs can cause nutrient side effects like dry mouth, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing), gastric or abdominal pain, hemorrhages or ulcers, decreased digestion, diarrhea, constipation, taste alterations, decreased absorption of magnesium, or increased excretion of minerals like potassium. All these nutritional side effects have the potential to undermine health by causing malnutrition.

In addition, to the pharmaceutical industry's relentless advertising mentioned in the article above, the industry has worked hard to convince health organizations and medical societies to redefine normal conditions as symptoms of impending disease needing long term treatment with drugs. Thus, a blood pressure of 120/80, long defined as "normal", has now been redefined as "pre-hypertension" in need of treatment with drugs to prevent the full blown development of the disease (see Seattle Times "Suddenly Sick").

Approximately 25% of school age kids take one or more drug medications daily. How on earth did my generation survive growing up in the 1950s and 60s, when only one percent or so of the students were regularly on medications? Maybe I should ask, "How will the current generation of kids ever survive to middle age and beyond, taking one or more drugs every day for decades"? Antidepressant use in particular has jumped among teens, despite the fact that the FDA has repeatedly warned the public that all antidepressant prescription drugs can cause suicidal depression in people who are uniquely sensitive to these meds. Many of our most horrendous school shootings have been perpetrated by students taking prescription antidepressant drugs (  

Chronic use of prescription drugs to alleviate symptoms usually does nothing to treat the true cause of disease. This is a common problem that will continue to plague our health care system with increased costs. Government reforms to help fund treatments will not change this basic problem in our health care (disease care) system. Because proper nutrition is essential for health, and because any disease can be caused or made worse by inadequate nutrition, the patient's nutrition should be assessed in every disease to rule out the possibility that symptoms might be related to chronic nutritional insufficiencies.

John W. Cartmell, MS

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