Medications and Quality of Life

Last week one of our practice members, handed me a recent newsletter from MetroHealth.  There was an interesting article in there written by Catherine Fallick, MD about blood pressure, medications, and life extension.  She states that high blood pressure (HBP) affects more than 60 million Americans.  It is the silent killer because there are no symptoms of HBP, but in the long run having it can lead to heart disease, kidney damage, and stroke.  This is all true of course.  However, what she says about medication got under my holistic skin!

She states: “People don’t understand that every day with high blood pressure is a day that they are aging faster than necessary.  Treating your blood pressure with medication and diet allows you to feel good when you are 70 and 80.  The rate of developing HPB sometime over your lifetime is near 90%.  Part of that is because of the aging population.  Only 10% of the population will never develop HPB.  We need to get used to the fact that we all are eventually going to have to take medications for BP.  If you are against taking medication, you may not have the life expectancy that we have come to expect in the United States. (Italics are mine).”

Oh really?  I looked up a common medication for BP, Lopressor, to see what it does.  It can cause: congestive heart failure (do I need to go on?), heart block, cardiogenic shock, severe slow heart beat, Raynaud’s phenomenon, gangrene, hepatitis, hypersensitivity reactions, photosensitivity, Systemic Lupus, and a loss of your white bood cells ( you know, the ones that fight infections!)

There are many contraindications listed for its use, and one of them is to be cautious with elderly people!

So I would like the good doctor to explain to me how taking this drug when I am in my 70’s and beyond, which is a high risk group, is going to make me “feel good” if I run the risk of congestive heart failure, liver disease, dead limbs, and possible autoimmune disease?  I would rather take my chances with just HBP!

Dr Fallick says that taking medication is what is necessary for a long, healthy life.  Is she aware that prescription medication is the leading cause of hospital admissions and death in the US today?  Is she also aware of an article that appeared in the AARP magazine not too long ago that referred to a study that said that people who DO NOT take medications have a higher life expectancy and quality of life that those who do?  Apparently not.

To her credit, she does refer to lifestyle changes.  Losing weight, diet changes, and exercise have all been shown to help people drop their BP.  There are also chiropractic studies ( I don’t have the references handy at the moment) that show chiropractic care also lowers BP.  None of these activities have adverse affects on one’s health as the medications do.

There is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle.  There is no substitute for regular chiropractic care.  There is no reason to believe that medications make people healthier!