Highway to nowhere
You get into your car. Turn the ignition. Put the car in drive. And a wave of fear comes over you… You can’t remember where you’re going.
Or maybe you forgot your grandchild’s name. Or a friend calls on the phone and it takes you a full minute to place who he is.
Clearly, something is not right.
“Is it just a natural part of aging? Is it onset of dementia? Do I have Alzheimer’s???”
Before you hit the panic button, know that there’s a really good chance you’re suffering from “specialist syndrome.”
Too many cooks
As we get up there in years, we find ourselves with almost as many doctors as cousins. One for your heart, one for your eyes, one for your blood sugar – and the list goes on. A specialist for everything. And more specialists inevitably means being handed more prescriptions to fill and taking more drugs.
And that’s where the trouble begins.
Sure, you expect your doctor or your pharmacist to consider all the other drugs you’re taking and how this one might interact. But that doesn’t happen as much as it should.
In fact, it’s usually the opposite. If you’re experiencing side effects from one, they add ANOTHER on to try and treat that.
And it turns out that, taken together, all those little Rx slips could be attacking your brain and your memory.
New research shows that if you use as few as three drugs daily, you sharply increase risk of memory loss and dementia. And the more drugs you take, the greater your risk. Plus, it doesn’t matter if they’re prescription or over-the-counter.
What makes this really scary is that the average senior takes seven different drugs every day. In this new study, some were taking as many as 11!
Now you may need some of those drugs, but a lot of them get prescribed “to be safe” or, honestly, out of habit. And the pile-on effect is too dangerous to ignore. It’s not worth losing your brain to keep your blood pressure from going up 5 points.
Pull together a list of all the drugs you’re taking – prescription and OTC – and set a time to talk to your primary doctor about which are critical and which you can stop taking.
And remember, your doctor may not believe it, but there are natural alternatives to deal with just about every issue he writes a scrip for.
You can search the HSI e-Alert archives by your medical concern to discover what alternatives are out there.
“Gray Matter Loss Tied to Polypharmacy” Ed Susman, MedPage Today, 7/17/13, medpagetoday.com