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People & Their Prescriptions

May 15, 2008, 6:01 PM by Jaine Andrews

People & Their Prescriptions
It might not surprise you to hear that Americans buy much more prescription medicine per person than any other country. But what may surprise you is what we're taking. 

America's dependence on pills is adding up. 51-percent of adults and children take 1 or more prescription drugs each day. 20% of us actually depend on 3 or more medications to treat a chronic condition. Lewis Drug's vice-president of pharmaceutical Services, Bill Ladwig says, “The fact that we're taking it may be is a good thing. The bad part is that maybe we're not taking ourselves...taking care of ourselves in the first place to get the condition that we are." 

Adults in KELOLAND are popping pills most often to lower their blood pressure, lift their mood or lower their cholesterol level. In that order. They're all problems linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. And the people most likely to make use of such medications are women. Ladwig says, “They see the physician more frequently, that's part of it. I think men tend to be a little bit more stoic, a little bit more in denial. Women are more forthright...just ask anybody who's married." 

Nearly 30-percent of children take a chronic medication. Most often for asthma and allergies, followed by medications for attention disorders and antidepressants. Ladwig says, "Is taking medications unavoidable? It depends on how well you take care of your own body and your genetic structure. Some things you're pre-disposed to and no matter what you do it will be yours." 

That said, however, even this pharmacist is quick to add that our propensity to pop a pill may not have to run as deep as it does. Ladwig says, “You have to get behind the process. That's where we lack as Americans; we're a little happier, more quick to take a medication that we think is going to cure us than get involved in our own health. We have to get involved in our own health." 

One benefit doctors say to all of this dependence on prescription drugs is that it has turned many what used to be fatal diseases into chronic diseases.

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