Healthy Aging For Baby Boomers

Not Taking Your Medications Can Be Dangerous

Not Taking Your Medications Can Be Dangerous. In some cases, aging related health concerns can be managed by diet changes, increased exercise, and natural remedies.

However, if you are diabetic or have had a heart attack, failure to take your medications can be extremely dangerous. There are very few people who enjoy taking medications, but many people, especially as they age, need to.

Failure to take prescribed medications can be very serious. After a heart attack is one such time. Denver researches looked at 2500 patients from 19 hospitals.

Three of the recognized therapies were studied: aspirin, beta-blockers, and statins, and records were gotten 1, 6, and 12 months after discharge. Approximately 70% were discharged taking all three medications, and over 1500 completed the interview after a month.

At one month, 66% were still taking all three medications, and the other members had dropped at least one. The patients that had stopped taking all three had a lower one-year survival rate compared to the patients who took at least one of the medications.

This shows a dramatic correlation between taking the medications and a higher survival rate. The same group studied the Kaiser Permanente of Colorado diabetes registry to check for adherence to medication in diabetics. This included information on oral medication, high blood pressure medication, and statin medications.

Adherence was based on the filled prescription records compared to the actual amount prescribed. 11,500 patients were studied, and were labeled as adherent or non-adherent, with non-adherent patients not taking their medication for at least 20% of the time.

About 1 out of 5 of the patients was non-adherent. Even though on average they were younger and had fewer simultaneous conditions compared to the patients that had taken their medication according to prescription, at follow-up appointments their diabetes was not as well controlled, and they had higher blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol.  

Healthy Living

What is worse, between 20 and 30 percent of those injuries will mean loss of mobility and independence. As we age, our bones become more brittle and are easily broken. Aging adults may also experience problems with seeing and their sense of balance may begin to fail. It's important to keep homes safe for you or your parents to prevent injuries that could seriously affect their life span and quality of life.

They had a higher rate of hospitalization and mortality as well. These continued to remain higher than the rates of adherent patients even after considerations were made for age and other medical conditions. The patient is only part of the problem. Some people argue that cost is an important factor in patients not taking their prescribed medications.

The physician is also an important factor. Improvements need to be made to the education that a patient receives so that he or she understands why they need to take the drug, what the dosing schedule is, and the side effects of taking and not taking the medication. Another problem is the dosing of the drugs, since many patients are on multiple drugs or ones that need to be taken several times a day. Drug companies are working on drug combinations to stop this. 

Gardening can be a great way to stay busy, as well as give us some exercise. If you don't have room for a garden of your own, could volunteer to help with someone elses garden. You could find some indoor plants for your home, and they will add a pleasant aroma to the air.

If you are considering stopping your medication or switching to an herbal treatment in place of it, always talk to your doctor first. He or she can help you come up with a different drug plan and/or explain the pros and cons of stopping or changing your medications.

In many cases, you are prescribed drugs because they will make an obvious difference in your quality and length of life, so continuing to use them is in your best interest.

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