Over half of all American adults and children are taking at least one prescription drug. New disease and illness is being created at alarming rates by the pharmaceutical companies. It’s time to take back the responsibility for our own health and well being. Dr. Lanphier gives useful and practical suggestions on how to get your health back!
To further increase profit, drug companies invent disease and subsequently, offer a solution. Herein lies the origin of deadly health myths. Such myths include, but are surely not limited to, that of high cholesterol being the culprit of heart disease, insulin being the only treatment for diabetics and that AIDS, rather than starvation, is killing Africans. Inventing disease is not a "far out" conspiracy theory. It is a simple matter of finding ailments that naturally occur due to poor lifestyle habits and labeling them as a disease. Once "big-pharma" steals jurisdiction over the general public's common sense, they convince them of the necessity of their drugs.
--Shane Ellison author of Health Myths Exposed
Living in the 21st century it seems we are constantly bombarded, more than ever, by the pressures of life - achieving success, meeting deadlines, demanding jobs, questionable politics and an economic crisis that is affecting every income class and doesn't look to get better any time soon. Along with all of the above there is a particular crisis happening right under our nose - one that is alarming and having more negative effect on Americans than most realize or will acknowledge. What am I referring to? The fact that America is a country on drugs! Not the illegal street drug concern (although this is alarming, too), but the legal promotion and candy-like selling of drugs that is encouraged and promoted by pharmaceutical companies.
A recent study by Medco (Medco Health Solutions Inc. is a company that manages prescription benefits for about one in five Americans) revealed that last year (2007), 51 percent of American adults AND children were taking at least one or more prescription drugs for what conventional medicine calls a chronic condition. Medco inspected prescription records from 2001 to 2007 of a representative sample of 2.5 million customers, from newborns to the elderly. This number is up from 50 percent the previous four years and 47 percent in 2001.
Prescription drug use for persistent health concerns was seen in all demographic groups:
- Nearly two-thirds of women 20 and up.
- One in four children and teenagers.
- 52 percent of adult men.
- Three out of four people 65 or older.
Seniors accounted for the most meds taken on a regular basis with 28 percent of women and nearly 22 percent of men taking five or more meds.
The study also brings to light a rise in children's use of meds to treat obesity and other illnesses that have normally been considered adult health concerns. In Medco's estimation close to 1.2 million American children now are taking meds for the following conditions: Type 2 diabetes, sleeping disturbances and gastrointestinal concerns such as heartburn.
America's Most Common Health Conditions for which Drugs Are Prescribed
High blood pressure
America's Most Expensive Medical Conditions & Estimated Yearly Expense
1. Heart Conditions - $76 billion
2. Trauma Disorders - $72 billion
3. Cancer - $69 billion
4. Mental Disorders, Including Depression - $55 billion
5. Asthma And Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) = $53 billion
6. Hypertension - $42 billion
7. Diabetes, Types 1 And 2 - $34 billion
8. Osteoarthritis And Other Joint Diseases - $34 billion
9. Back Problems - $32 billion
10. Normal Childbirth - $32 billion
With the exception of trauma disorders, every health condition listed above can be prevented or successfully remedied in a natural manner without the use of drugs and surgery.
Overuse of Prescription Drugs - The NEW Epidemic
What has precipitated this legal drug epidemic? The two reasons that stand out the most are the "creation" of disease by either lowering the guidelines that determine disease or by the development of a new disease (usually something that has always been beign) to match a new drug and the huge media blitz from pharmaceutical companies.
Creating Disease - In several instances during the last five to ten years the guidelines used to decide what is actually disease and what is normal has been lowered which automatically makes people who were considered well yesterday, sick today! For example, in May, 2003 if you asked anyone, including doctors what they considered a normal adult blood pressure to be, they would have responded with 120/80 being ideal and under 140 acceptable. Not now. According to new JNC-7 guidelines, 120/80 now puts people in a new disease category called "pre-hypertension" and at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease. This means that almost half of the world's population is now classified as hypertensive or pre-hypertensive. The clincher? Nearly every member of WHO panel (ones that decided upon changing the guidelines) had close financial ties to drug firms. The most interesting fact is that the probable benefit of prescription meds to remedy these health concerns is usually highly exaggerated with side effects being minimized. Why are the side effects minimized? Because experiencing these side effects usually mean another trip to the doctor's office and a new medication to relieve the side effect. Many doctors work as paid consultants to the pharmaceutical industry and are often the ones writing the guidelines about who should take the drugs.
Disease mongering is another way that makes sure America stays on drugs. This situation is suggestive of the attitude towards cholesterol. Twenty years ago, physicians were not concerned about the effects that cholesterol might have on heart disease. Today, thanks to efforts by pharmaceutical companies, high cholesterol levels are now recognized as a major health concern. In fact, IMS Health, a global healthcare information company, reports that the two best-selling drugs in 2004 were statins: Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium) from Pfizer (New York, NY, USA)-valued at US$10.6 billion with growth of 13.9% over the previous year-and Zocor® (simvastatin) from Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA). A pharmaceutical executive noted: "The emergence of cholesterol reduction as a market was a major event for pharma. Metabolic syndrome promises to be as big or bigger". (Breitstein, 2004).
Lynn Payer, the late medical journalist, addressed the issue in the early 1990s in her book Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, and Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick by writing: "Disease-mongering-trying to convince essentially well people that they are sick, or slightly sick people that they are very ill-is big business.... Disease mongering is the most insidious of the various forms that medical advertising, so-called medical education, and information and medical diagnosis can take." And Arthur Caplan, Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, told the TV program 60 Minutes, "If you want to stir up worry in the public, and you've got the advertising dollars to do it, you can turn almost anything into a disease." The subject of this 60 Minutes report was the recent emerging market for adult attention deficit disorder (ADD)-the traditional view of conventional medicine was that ADD afflicted only children and they would almost always eventually outgrow it.
Media Blitz - In 1997 the FDA lifted the ban on direct-to-consumer advertising and included a law that required media ads to list every possible side effect. You would think that by listing all the possibly side-effects it would actually deter people from asking their doctors for the advertised meds. That's not exactly what happened. American television viewers (just from TV) now see as many as 16 hours of prescription drug advertisements each year! After the lifted ban, Americans were literally bombarded with commercials for prescription drugs through TV, magazines, radio, newspapers, billboards and the Internet. Right now the US and New Zealand are the only countries in the world where a person can turn on the TV and hear a voice encouraging them to 'ask your doctor if this drug is right for you'. How's that for making sure that every mind in America, from young to old, is planted with the suggestion that they "need" drugs. Pharmaceutical understand the "power of suggestion" very well. Evening prime time TV airs at least two drug commercials per 30 minutes. These commercials contain high emotional appeal and usually depict the drug as being a significant "break-through". This is purposefully used to get people's attention. Because of this media blitz for certain drugs, doctors will often prescribe drugs to patients even if they don't think they need it. For example, one study suggested that 54% of the time a doctor will prescribe a specific brand and type of medication, if patients specifically ask for it.
Getting America OFF Drugs and Back to Good Health
Most people have lost the definition of good health and no longer remember what it feels like to be energetic, mentally alert and emotionally stable. We have become a society that has given away the responsibility for our health to an industry that reeks of greed and corruption and with no smidgen of concern for our best interest. And our reward for giving away this responsibility has been ill health and an empty pocketbook. It is time to learn how to take responsibility for our own health and well-being. It is time to stop being fearful of disease and illness. It is time for every person to get into the mode of prevention. No one knows YOU better than YOU. We must not allow fear to keep us from stepping up to the plate and taking control of our health. Big medicine, Big Pharma, Big Food, Big Government (FDA) and Big Insurance are keeping us sick, fearful and poor.
The decision to take back your health is one decision that you will not regret. Thousands are doing it and experiencing not only good health but the satisfaction of being in control of their well-being. We must be willing to take the time that is necessary in order to bring our body back into health. Below are some suggestions for those that want to begin the path back to good health and well-being.
Cleansing and Detoxification - Cleansing and detoxification, historically, has been recommended by doctors for thousands of years. This is important and should always be the FIRST STEP in helping the body to heal and repair. Certainly the body has self-mechanisms that help with cleansing but because the body is constantly bombarded with chemicals, toxic air, water and food, prescription meds, bacteria and viruses, as never before, it is a "must" to make sure that it undergoes a thorough cleansing several times a year. Remember that 80% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract and it just makes sense to keep it running effectively. Constipation is at epidemic proportions and can be the root-cause of many illnesses. There are hundreds of cleanses and detoxification strategies that are very useful. Personally, I have found that oxygen-based-cleansing gives the quickest and best results for total digestive tract cleansing since it cleans from the small intestine down. It is also wise to perform a parasite cleanse and a heavy metal cleanse 2-3 times yearly.
Healthy Diet - Many of the health concerns listed in this article can be controlled and/or eliminated by a healthy diet alone. Not fad diets that promote chemical-laden and pre-packaged foods, but a healthy diet that promotes fresh and living foods. Adding lots of fresh, organic, in-season fruits and vegetables; organic nuts and seeds; whole grains; healthy oils such as coconut, hemp seed, flaxseed and olive oils and organic, free-range dairy and meats will help the body to heal and repair. Eliminate refined sugar, sodas, hydrogenated oils, pre-packaged foods, fast foods, white flour and hormone and antibiotic-laden meat and dairy. Try to eat five small meals every day rather than three large meals.
Water - The only liquid that they body requires and needs is pure, clean water. Every cell in your body needs water to function correctly. Water also helps to flush the body of toxins. Americans could save a bundle on their grocery bills and doctor visits if they would drink pure and clean water only. However, since most municipal water is toxic it is imperative to install good filters on faucets and showers or whole-house filtration systems. Now that the plastic companies have been forced into honesty about the hazards of packaging water in plastic bottles, water carafe filters are a very wise investment. They are inexpensive and can be taken to work, on outings and vacations and used at home. Distilled water packaged in glass is also a good choice. Make sure that you add minerals back to the water. An easy way to do this is to add 2-3 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar to every gallon. Try to drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of pure, clean water everyday.
Exercise - The average office worker in the US sits for a total of six hours daily. America is the most obese country in the world and obesity is becoming epidemic in our children - most likely because physical education classes and recess has been drastically reduced or taken out of public school curriculums. Exercise helps in the elimination of toxins, helps to keep the intestinal tract moving, helps with the circulatory system and is great for depression. Jumping on a mini-tramp, a 30-40 minute daily walk or a daily sports activity will help your body with elimination of toxins, keep your heart healthy and will help to keep the lymphatic system moving.
Food-Grade Supplementation - Food-grade supplements are necessary now more than ever before. Farming practices that adulterate the soil, genetically modified foods and questionable practices in organic farming mean that our food does not contain the levels of nutrients that it once did. For example, the 1990 Mt. Sinai School of Medicine text book of nutrition lists that a 1/2 cup of spinach's Vitamin A content is just over 6,000 units. In comparison, a 1948 Kleiner's Book of Human Biochemistry study lists the same amount of spinach contains 24,000 units. Therefore a 1/2 cup of spinach contains 75% fewer nutrients than it did 50 years ago. Learn to read supplement labels and refuse to buy supplements that contain excipients, fillers and synthetic vitamins. At the very least, everyone should take a good organic multi-vitamin/mineral supplement every day.
Emotions and Stress - Negative emotions, stress, anger, resentment, jealousy, unhappiness, etc. can bring the body and immune system down very quickly. Most don't realize the relationship emotions and stress have to illness and disease. Several natural doctors have noted that high stress levels may be a huge factor in the development of serious disease. Negativity is rampant in our society. More and more children are prescribed antidepressants now than any other time in history. Many times if a doctor cannot pinpoint a diagnosis, they will offer an antidepressant.
The following are suggestions that will help with stress and emotions: B Complex, Lithium Orotate, making sure hormones are in balance, daily walk in nature, meditation, positive affirmations, practicing 30 minutes of quiet and deep breathing every day, 30 minutes of sunshine without sunglasses or sunscreen every day, healthy diet, adequate essential fatty acids, reading up-lifting books, listening to soothing music, relaxing baths or foot baths, reflexology, massage, chiropractic, limiting TV, finding a hobby, helping others and more. Anti-depressants are not the answer, they are only a band-aid.
There is always a safe and effective answer to most every health concern if you approach the body as a whole - mind, body, spirit. We are not just "livers", "hearts", pancreases", "minds", "intestines", "stomachs" or "bones and joints". This is the mind-set and thinking of conventional medicine. It is time for Americans to rethink the role of drugs in their lives in relationship to natural health actions that can be taken to maximize wellness, such as the suggestions that are mentioned in this article. Of course, medications can be life saving for some conditions but in most circumstances changes in lifestyle toward health and well-being along with taking the time needed to work on yourself (emotionally) will produce lasting and satisfying results of good health and wellness.
More than half of Americans on chronic meds. Associated Press, May, 2008.
New blood-pressure guidelines pay off - for drug companies by staff reporter Duff Wilson. June, 2005. The Seattle Times.
Why Do Americans Take So Many Prescription Drugs? By J. Douglas Bremner, MD. America's Most Expensive Medical Conditions by Allison Van Dusen, February, 2008. Forbes.com.
Creating Demand for Prescription Drugs: A Content Analysis of Television Direct-to-Consumer Advertising. Authors: Dominick L. Frosch, PhD1,2, Patrick M. Krueger, PhD3,4, Robert C. Hornik, PhD2,5, Peter F. Cronholm, MD, MSCE6 and Frances K. Barg, PhD6. Annals of Family Medicine 5:6-13 (2007).
The Making of a New Disease. Pharma Exec 1 Jan, www.pharmexec.com Breitstein J (2004)
Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH is a Naturopathic Physician, Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Practitioner and Clinical Herbalist in Houston, TX and Founder / CEO of Oasis Advanced Wellness, LLC. Under her leadership, Oasis Advanced Wellness is known and respected as one of the leading natural health companies in providing safe, non-toxic health and wellness products along with customized natural health programs. Dr. Lanphier is the author of five natural health and wellness e-books including Optimum Health Strategies...Doing What Works and the newly-revised Proven Secrets to Whole Body Hormone Balance... You Can Feel Good. She is also Editor-in-Chief and contributor to the worldwide Free E-newsletters Advanced Health & Wellness and Dr. Lanphier's Health E-Tips. We invite you to visit us at Oasis Advanced Wellness.