Wednesday, 10 December 2014

It has to last you

Hello. I had an idea of what I would write about today, but reading an article on the BBC news web site has changed all that. What I read has not only surprised me, but shocked me.

A few weeks ago, when the weather was warm enough to do a bit of gardening, I was out on the front trimming my hedges. It's a very relaxed community round here, people have time to stop and chat. A neighbour from up the road was passing, she was on her way back from the doctors surgery. It's also a medical centre and a dispensary, so a one stop shop for minor ailments. We are lucky to have that facility so close, I pick my hearing aid batteries up there.

My neighbour was complaining that they weren't being very quick about dispensing her medication, she had dropped the prescription off some days before and expected it to be ready. She came back empty handed, still not ready for a couple of days. Luckily she hadn't left it till the last minute and still had some tablets left from the last lot she had. Then she asked me if I had had problems getting my meds. I was puzzled, and said I don't take any. She was equally puzzled and asked, 'what, none?' I replied, I don't need any. It got me thinking, is it the norm to take some kind of medication? Surely not!

Then I just read this article.

Nearly 50% take prescription drugs. 

Apparently half of women and 43% of men are regularly taking prescription drugs, according to the Comprehensive Health Survey for England. The cost to the NHS is in excess of 15 billion pounds a year.

A few quotes from the article if you don't want to read the whole thing.

Nearly a third of prescriptions were for cardiovascular disease with more than 65 million prescriptions for tackling high blood pressure, heart failure or cholesterol levels.
Simvastatin - which lowers cholesterol - was the single most prescribed item with 40 million prescriptions.
"That half of men over 65 are taking cholesterol-lowering medicines reflects the high risk of cardiovascular disease in this group.
"Stopping smoking, being a healthy weight, eating more vegetables and fruit, and being physically active reduce people's risk of these diseases, for people who want to avoid taking medicines."
I find these statistics pretty shocking, I didn't know there were so many people popping pills. I blame all the junk food that's everywhere nowadays. It's too easy to get hold of. Jeez some people must have pretty rubbish diets. I know some of you are going to shoot me down, some illnesses are down to genetics, and yes they are, but surely not all of them. Surely some of it is down to what we put in our mouths. 
So, a percentage of the 50% who are taking meds, do so because they inherited some of their problems from their parents, but that means the rest who are being propped up with pills have ailments that are self inflicted. I'm struggling to get my head round this. I know what's bad for me, I eat crap and I am crap, so I try not to. 
A few years ago I had to have a camera down my throat, not a very pleasant experience. Things weren't working well, feeling sick, bloated, and lethargic. Somewhere on this blog is a photo of my duodenum, it looks lovely and clean, not a blemish on it. Some people thought that was a gross picture to publish, buy hey ho, you get me, inside and out. Thank goodness that my sicky state was down to my samey boring diet. As soon as I knew that, I could take steps to improve matters, vary it a bit more, make changes. Bingo, that was the answer. The cake thing last week was a reminder, OMG I shouldn't have done that, but now I am back on track. I will not buy a whole cake again. A small one maybe, but it has to be reduced, ha ha. 
Please please look after your health as best you can. It is the most important thing in your life. Love your body, love how it all works, love your heartbeat, love every part of it, and don't abuse it. It has to last you. 
Toodle pip. 

49 comments:

  1. I think todays diet is responsible for many 'ills'
    I am 70 and don 't take meds.

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  2. Recently there were recommendations made that everyone over a certain age should take statins, and another report before that suggested that about the same age group should be taking a daily aspirin (unless they had digestive problems) to cut down on heart attacks. I therefore think a lot of people must be taking these 'preventative' medicines on this advice. I'm lucky, got a doctor who doesn't try to urge me into stuff like that, so I'm 63 and not on any meds. Barbara

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  3. Where it's self inflicted it's down to sheer laziness. Much easier to zap a rubbish ready meal in the microwave which will then afford you the time to be able to sit in front of the telly watching cerebral treats such as I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here or Celebrity Big Brother. And while you are watching such cultural delights the advertisers are able to persuade you to buy more crap stuff that you don't really need. I wish this country would shift it's big fat ass off the sofa and get out and do some real living before it's too late and all that is wonderfully British and quirky disappears in a mire of cheesy chips and coke.

    Linda xxx

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    1. Love that Linda, just what I needed after coming back from a freezing cold dog walk. Made me chuckle.

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    2. I needed cheering up...that did the trick ,Linda!!
      Jane x

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    3. Well said, Linda. I couldn't agree more.

      Julia

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  4. My O H has to take Thyroxin tabs but other than that we are fairly healthy. I don't take any meds at all and am totally against Statins as a routine measure. We check our own blood pressure and if OH's is a bit high he adjusts his diet accordingly. Mine tends to be low so I walk when I can to get it up a bit. We are both just 65. We have aches and pains but who doesn't! I believe that health is in our own hands to a big extent. Genetics play a part, of course they do, in certain illnesses but not all.

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  5. You know Ilona I was shocked too. My lovely Dad died from heart failure, which was genetic, so it really made me think. I do love cake too much :) but my diet is pretty healthy and I don't smoke and probably have a nice bottle of beer on average once a month. Instead of handing out statins, doctors should hand out exercise plans and diet plans, including healthy recipes. It amazes me how many parents in our little village drive their kids to school every day, Although on a grotty day like today I envy them mostly I think it does us a lot of good trotting to school and back. Jeez I'll shut up now :)
    Twiggy

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    1. We have got some overweight mums who would be better off to walk their kids to school.

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  6. Some of us are genuinely ill though - I have a thyroid condition and need tablets. I grow most of my own food and spend a lot of time cooking. I'm one of the unlucky ones... Karen x

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  7. Am I the only reader who doesn't know what statins are? At least I can say with certainty that I'm not taking any ;)

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    1. I don't know what a statin is either. You're not alone.

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    2. Statins are tablets prescribed by a GP and used to reduce cholesterol levels in the body and at the moment are offered willy nilly as a 'quick fix'. What is wrong with adjusting the diet first, I ask? Most people I know who have taken them are getting other problems from side effects : /

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    3. As the single female member of my mother's family without cholesterol issues and therefore not on statins, I know from watching my aunt adjusting her diet for years with no effect on her cholesterol, that sometimes they are a necessity, I didn't skip the high blood pressure gene though!

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    4. Hi Jenni, I have a friend who has changed his diet to try and get his cholesterol down, it hasn't worked. Not an excuse to go back to the old ways though. When you know you have done all you can to alleviate the problem, maybe that is the time to ask the doctor for help.

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  8. does this also include people taking the Pill?

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    1. No. If you read the article it says....

      All the figures exclude contraceptives and smoking cessation products.

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  9. I'm on antidepressants so am part of that 50% but have gradually reduced my dosage and put other things in place to help my mental health. Paying attention to your mental health is often overlooked yet can, as we all know, cause the most awful illnesses in the body. I eat well and exercise lots but in ways that appeal to me. Good article.
    Arilx

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    1. I agree. Mental health is tied up to physical health. Some meds may be needed for depression, but exercise can go a long way to improved health of the mind and the body.

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  10. Hi Ilona, I read that article in my lunch break today. I'm was surprised and also sad, though that may sound odd, hear me out. A lot of people are not taking care of themselves, but also the pharmaceutical companies are pushing some drugs - as someone above said, statins have been being recommended in a 'preventative' manner for years.

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    1. Maria, ever since I turned 50, my GP has been trying to get me on one prescription or other. Our former GP tried to put me on meds for being what he termed "pre diabetic", but alas, the pills made me sick and when a 2nd doc looked at my blood sugar numbers, there was NO problem at all. I was well within healthy limits. Then came blood pressure meds. Which I did not need. Took the pills for two days an nearly passed out each day. Reduced sodium in my diet and did fine. Those numbers are also good. There was the prescription for vitamin D in a mega dose. 15 minutes of sunshine and some low fat dairy every day works better for me. So, I think it's more doctors and (as you mentioned) pharmaceutical companies pushing drugs onto those aged 45 and over. The thought seems to be that if you're older, you need pills. And if you're not taking pills, it's unusual, so lets find a pill for you to take.

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  11. A friend of mine had a dizzy spell outside her work place. Her husband got a call to come and pick her up because she was being belligerent. When he asked what she was doing that was belligerent they said, "She claims she's not on any medication." She is NOT on any medication even though she is 60 years old. Good grief. My mother never took anything and lived to be 90. I think medication maybe causes lots of ills in old age.

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    1. Amazing! Seems like the norm to take pills now. I do despair.

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  12. As a diabetic I take pills and insulin injections daily, also simvastatin (clolestorol) and ramopril (blood pressure)

    I get the monthly prescription from the loval pharmacy and meet people I went to school with 50-odd years ago, also picking up their monthly prescription, probably the same stuff.

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  13. I donate blood regularly, and there are two pages with questions to answer about diseases, recent traveling abroad, surgery and medicines taken recently. When I hand them in, I always get told I forgot to fill in the questions about drugs. "At your age (I`m 62), you surely take something . . ." When I tell them I don´t, they are sort of shocked. I am more shocked when I see that most donators come by car, even if their walk would be shorter than mine.

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  14. No meds for me at the moment but the record was 33 different tablets in a day post surgery. It was the ill-est I've ever felt in my life! Its rare in my job with over 65 year olds to find people who aren't taking any tablets at all (unless they're forgetting them!) but that may be because I work in the NHS with people who are ill! x

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  15. I was shocked by this report too. I'm on no meds neither is my Lovely Hubby even though he is diabetic. We control our health with a healthy diet.

    We get offered statins every time we visit the doctors, purely because of our ages ...... Oh and the fact that doctors get a £30 bonus for each patient they can get onto statins!!

    If folk realised just how they work and understood that we NEED cholesterol in our body's to fight illness and disease they would stop taking them :-(

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  16. It is all too easy to take a tablet now rather than taking charge of your health. Frustrating really.

    X x

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  17. A friend of mine, a recently retired GP, told me that the goalposts for when you 'need' medication for (e.g.) high cholesterol have changed so that medication is offered for what would not have been considered a problem a year or two ago. I believe that GPs receive a financial incentive for diagnosing and treating certain conditions, which may cost the NHS money down the line. Both these practises must encourage the high rate of prescribing medication. You might even suspect a plot by drugs companies.You are surely right that bad diet plays a part in many people's 'need' for drugs. There are also some who for no obvious reason need regulatory medication - my husband is very slim, takes lots of exercise and won't eat junk, yet he has developed a heart condition that has, thankfully, been fully controlled with one tablet a day. Long live the NHS!

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  18. I am 79 and don,t take any meds. But I do have a dog so I go walkies. Ivy

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    1. That's it, dogs are the answer. They are so comforting, and give you the exercise you need. Everyone should have a dog.

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  19. My Father is 98 and takes absolutely nothing. When he had a cold last time, I told him to take some aspirin. I duly toddled off and got him two tablets. He took a quarter of one tablet.

    When I was last at Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham where I will have major surgery (again), they asked me what my doctor at home was giving me. I said nothing. I do take propranolol for flushing and something for a hernia but apart from that nothing. Natalie

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    1. My granny is also 98 and apart from a water tablet every morning she also takes nothing and has never been in hospital in her life… she also has all her own teeth. If she catches cold, she'll suck a Strepsil and that's about it. She is still very able and lives at home (with my mom to help, but more "just in case").
      My mom has noticed this phenomenon, being in England for my granny instead of living here in Europe as she would normally do. She is 73 and until she had to have a colostomy, she never had health problems or tablets. Now, after a reversal, she's back to not taking anything but tells stories of the other - mostly much younger - people she's met at the dr's and in hospital. She is very youthful and everyone is surprised to hear her age. However, she also blames the "typical" English diet these days - I expect those commenters who take little or no meds also have a pretty healthy diet?
      I think it must be the drs and the guidelines that are misplaced. Yet another question mark for the NHS :(

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    2. Ahhh, good old dad eh! Hope he makes the century. I am banking on my uncle reaching that age, he is 91 now. I hope I have some of his genes.

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  20. I would venture to guess that the statistics are even higher in the US. I don't take any meds, used to for anxiety but then found the cure caused me as much trouble as the initial problem does... I don't really trust meds... I know years ago they were all about Rxing "lipitor" for everyone here in the US, with elevated cholesterol. Now they have found that it caused diabetes... Here, the drug manufacturers are such a big political lobby, I'm afraid you can't trust any of it. I agree that whenever possible it is best to stay off meds. Some are truly needed, but walking a lot and healthy diet do help a great deal.

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  21. Those are some scary statistics, and the drug companies are really making the dough, right? We do really try to take care of ourselves, but this time of year is a killer for sugar!

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  22. I'm 57 and not taking any medication but my doctor keeps trying to push statins on me. Despite mostly eating healthily my cholesterol does continue to be a little high, but not by much. I am loathe to take these tablets regularly especially after looking at possible side effects. There is absolutely no history of heart problems in my family on either side going back generations, plus I don't smoke, drink only very occasionally, keep active (don't drive so mostly walk everywhere) and I have never had issues with my blood pressure even while overweight and/or pregnant. No wonder the statistics for people taking regular medication is so high if doctors keep prescribing these tablets. Do they get bonuses for the number of patients they can get on them?

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    1. From what others have said it sounds like they do, Helen. Shocking really, line your pockets with the misery of others, rather than working on preventative measures to avoid illness in the first place. Like sticking a plaster over a wound in the hope it heals rather than cleaning it out and stitching it.

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  23. I think the pharmaceutical companies have to take a lot of the blame. You can't watch TV for 5 minutes without a drug commercial. I quit going to doctors partly because all they seem to do is push pills down your throat that the drug companies push on them. And all they do is treat symptoms. I am much happier and healthier using herbal teas and eating better. What you say about food is definitely the truth. My parents take a handful of pills every day but I refuse to be like that.

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  24. I don't like to boast as it might backfire on me but I don't take any medication and get the same reaction when mentioning it to people of my age.
    I think people think that pills will cure everything these days and are too ready to take anything the Doctor recommends. Don't forget, the Dr makes money out of the pills he prescribes so its to his advantage to get everyone on something or other.
    Good post Ilona
    briony
    x

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    1. Be proud, Briony. Keep on doing what you are doing, and hope for good luck in your old age.

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  25. I am part of the 50% that take Rx. In fact I take four different ones. I have an aggressive form of glaucoma and have lost half of the vision in one eye. So I am hoping to keep the rest of my sight as long as possible. Actually my monthly Rx costs are one reason I am thrifty in other areas of my life.

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  26. I saw that report, it makes me sad and angry. I wonder how many GP appointments each day are for conditions related to obesity, tobacco and alcohol. If only GPs told people to get off their bottoms and lose weight/cut down on drinking/quit cigarettes, but no ... that's not politically correct. Grrr.

    Drug companies and their shareholders must be laughing all the way to the bank. The first concern of a Ltd company is to make a return for its investors. If drug company products made people better they would sell less, and profits would fall. How many of these new 'wonder medications' cure anyone? I suspect none at all, it's like putting wood-chip wallpaper on crumbling brickwork - makes the surface look OK but underneath everything is still falling to pieces. Sorry, I'll stop ranting now :}

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    1. Hi Jayne. Very valid point. Doctors have been told to reduce the amount of meds they dish out, but will they, when it earns them extra money. They are pushing patients in the wrong direction

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  27. Some of us need to take meds due to no fault of our own. I need inhalers for asthma and nasal sprays to control my problems related to the asthma. I`ve always tried to lead a healthy live and I do look after my health in general, but the asthma problem was caused through a virus infection, I never asked to be dealt that kind of ill health card. If I couldn`t take my meds on a daily/regular basis I`d end up in hospital on a ventilator. I sometimes have delays in getting my meds from my doctor surgery, and that depends on how busy they had been, dealing with many repeat prescription requests each week. So, you see, not all medication needs come down to self-inflicted mistreatment of our bodies.

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    1. I didn't say it was, Sarina. Some people inherit their conditions genetically, some are just unlucky, but a large proportion of people on meds needn't be, if they were on the correct diet.

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  28. A very good post on a very important topic.No prescription meds taken here and I have declined any offers by the doctor.As comments have said, a nutritious varied diet, keeping active and interested in life, and a very good night's sleep, love and laughter and furry companions go very far to keep us all in good health.It's vital to anyone who wants a good old age to be proactive, informed and ask questions. Regards, Destemona

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  29. Interesting! Statins do have side effects. Instead of urging everyone to take them, more effort should be put into making people healthier. I think part of the issue is that people can't cook. All school kids should learn the basics as I did. It's so much cheaper too!
    Jane

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  30. Smoking, drinking, too much sugar (diet food/drinks are bad for you too), junk food and lack of exercise, all contribute to the cause of today's medical problems.

    I am like you if I eat crap I feel like crap! My body definitely lets me know. I am 52 and not on any medication yet. My dad was 75 when he had a mild heart attack and up until then he was not on medication. He absolutely hates taking pills, mum has to always remind him to take them. I told him to discuss with his doctor about reducing some of them, but they are not interested. Why would they be? Doctors and chemists are in cahoots with each other!

    Great post Ilona! Diet is important for all health conditions. These sort of health problems weren't so prevalent in the olden days :)

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