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Thursday, May 15, 2008


Today I heard on the news that last year 51% of American children and adults were on some kind of prescription medicine. That's not at all surprising since sometimes it seems that every other commercial touts the benefits of popping one pill or another. Then they warn us that the kids are using their parents' prescriptions to get high.

Among seniors, 28% of women and 22% of men take five or more medicines regularly. The most common are for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I had an 88 year old friend who lined up her various pills for the day. There must have been five or six bottles. She had pills for her heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, pain, vitamins, etc. which she took twice a day.

I once went to a doctor who on finding out that my total cholesterol was high, quickly said that a pill could take care of that. He didn't care that my good cholesterol was very high, nor did he suggest a change of diet, just pop a pill. Maybe that attitude is the reason so many people are on prescription medicines.

There is an upside to this though. Some prescriptions are for chronic diseases that used to be fatal such as aids, some cancers, hemophilia and sickle cell disease.

I guess there really are two sides to every story.

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