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Medications and the Elderly

Senior woman tipping pills from prescription bottle, close-up of hands

A Positive Outlook

4.4 million prescriptions were written in 2016. The largest increase in these prescriptions was due to chronic conditions affecting the senior population —people are living longer, hence, the rapid and continuing increase of the senior population.

70% of all medications dispensed were for those over the age of 50. Interestingly enough, Hepatitis C was the leading health condition affecting the boomer generation (born between 1946-1964).

Fortunately, if we engage in a positive outlook, many of the chronic diseases that affect the older demographic can be managed or even turned around with lifestyle changes.

Top prescribed medications for the following conditions:

  1. Cancer
  2. Thyroid
  3. High Blood Pressure/Heart Failure
  4. High Cholesterol
  5. Type 2 Diabetes
  6. Acid Reflux
  7. Asthma/Lung Disease
  8. Seizures/Nerve Pain

Unfortunately, some of these conditions are not controlled by lifestyle, but rather by heredity or environment that must be managed by medications.

Fortunately, many of the aforementioned conditions can be controlled, prevented or even reversed by the lifestyle choices we make—these include lifestyle modifications such as, diet, exercise, stress reduction, adequate sleep, and a healthy mind thru yoga, meditation, tai chi, or even massage.

Change your bad habits into healthy choices:

Bad habit: A diet heavy in carbs and sugar, and low in fiber, protein, fruits, and vegetables, as well as a lack of exercise, is a key contributor to getting Type 2 Diabetes, especially if it is a familial trait.

Healthy Choice: Load up on legumes, fiber, proteins, and fruits lower in sugar. Engage in an exercise regimen. Even walking 30 minutes per day can lower your blood sugar levels, reducing your chances of getting diabetes and possibly even reverting back to a healthy sugar level.

Bad Habit: Too much salt in the diet! A diet high in sodium can cause hypertension and high blood pressure.

Healthy Choice: If you are a lover of salt and highly laced sodium products, there are many salt substitutes available on the market. Also, find an alternative spice that you like in lieu of salt.

Bad Habits: We all love foods that are rich in taste and flavor, however, many of these delectable foods are very high in the unhealthy fats. Too much of anything is not good, hence, diets high in fatty foods can cause high cholesterol, acid reflux, and even various cancers.

Healthy Choice: Moderation! Moderation! Moderation!

If we do our part in making healthy changes to our lifestyle, it can help us to avert, ward off, turn around, or even cure some of these chronic conditions!

NOTE: As the cancer rate continues to spike, drugs prescribed by oncologists continues to top the list. Even as the medical community continues to do their part in finding a cure for cancer, it is still a plight, we as a society, continue to fight and be affected by. In light of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the goal to find a cure for this disease still remains to be of high priority in the research world.

Sources: Jamie Wells, MD,