Here's some research as to how many Australians take more than 5 prescribed medicines based on general trends in polypharmacy from available data up until September 2021.
The numbers are higher if we extrapolate to 2023 but what are the consequences if 'prescription drugs more popular than ever' becomes the norm?
Polypharmacy is defined as the concurrent use of multiple medications by a patient, typically defined as taking five or more medications daily. The following discussion will look at the frightening statistics on those of us taking just 3 or more prescribed drugs.
According to a 2020 report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, approximately 50% of Australians aged 50 and above were using 5 or more medicines.
As for other age groups, the prevalence of polypharmacy tends to increase with age. To provide a rough breakdown based on general trends:
- 18-24 years: Under 10% are taking 3 or more prescribed medicines
- 25-49 years: A moderate percentage, between 10-25%, are taking more than 3 prescribed medicines
- 50-64 years: Around 50% or more are taking more than 3 prescribed medicines
- 65 years and older: A significant percentage, possibly around 70% or more, taking more than 3 prescribed medicines
Based on the 2 year old information, we can assume that the percentage of people taking more than 3 prescribed medicines in each age group is even higher than the above figures. and so we might expect:
- 25-49 years: over 30%
- 50-64 years: over 60% and
- 65+ years: between 80% and 90% of the population are taking more than 3 prescribed medicines
These pharmaceuticals would include a statin drug to reduce high blood cholesterol levels, a drug for elevated blood pressure (hypertension), another to lower blood sugar response and correct for insulin resistance (eg Metformin) and Allopurinol to lower uric acid load in soft tissues.
There is an unfortunate paradigm underpinning the above statistics
This that our genetics and modern times put humans in a pathological paradigm rather than an ecological one. Medicine is a study of pathologies or what disease state is matched by the diagnosed symptoms at hand. Then the pharmaceutical industry offers the solution in a collection of synthetic, chemical cocktails to mitigate these symptoms of each of the chronic illnesses. The bad news is that the individual drugs may work to 'normalize' the specific levels measured by biochemical test as ordered by the medical practitioners but when administered together, they often cause new problems.
Some of the secondary effects of the drugs are damaging to our long term health and none are routinely assessed for their negative influences on our cellular mitochondria, our energy powerhouses and cellular health regulators. No regulatory authority such as the TGA in Australia or the FDA in the USA ever asks for this data prior to their approving these highly profitable Ponzi products of the health and medical industries. Big Pharma has minimal responsibility other than not killing people in the short term. Taking years to do this is more conducive to making healthy profits and using smoke and mirrors because the biochemical markers support the 'improved' health status.
None of the drugs have ever been assessed for their delivery of better health, increased longevity or even if they protect against the disease state they target. Statins don't prevent heart attacks. Allopurinol does not cure gout. See this article on my own experience).
And how long do these drugs need to be taken? Do we get better on this prescription? Do we take the pills for weeks or months? More? No. We are told we have an innate health problem (we are defective due to our age or neglect or genetics) and these drugs are a life sentence.
An interesting fact is that when you apply for health insurance, there are questions about any prescribed drugs taken regularly to address underlying conditions of ill-health. The actuaries in the life insurance industry know that their risk of you dying despite the medication is higher than if you are healthy without the drugs.
Here’s a short 6 minute video on the topic and the primary outcome from avoiding the diseases of nutrition. Better healthspan and lifespan are the obvious benefits but with a high quality of life, what other things become important? Watch the video and start on your own journey to your place in the ecology of the place you are in now.
The alternative is an ecological paradigm.
This recognizes that we are just another animal that needs an appropriate habitat that provides healthy food, clean water, the need and ease to exercise, safe shelter, individual purpose, family, community and a lifestyle that is within the carrying capacity of their environment.
Want to know how to lower your life insurance costs?
Doctors and hospitals are fine if you do some physical damage to yourself and together with improved sanitation, are the reason we live longer now than 100 or 1000 years ago. The reality is that doctors are not trained to recommend the healthy lifestyle conditions that they are told are public health concerns so it’s over to the media industry. Here’s another profit-driven money pit and is why we see a new diet, a new ‘superfood’ or a new exercise program every week. They simply sell subscriptions and advertising space.
- you drink milk for stronger teeth and bones
- calcium (from limestone and chalk) is good in synthetic vitamin D supplements and nut milks
- magnesium powders from crushed rocks is the same as the mineral from plant foods
- sugar in abundance is safe because modern fruits are sweet.
- multivitamin and mineral supplements or simple concoctions of ‘superfoods’ (that aren’t) are essential for our health
- The list goes on.
We can keep going down the rabbit hole but may I suggest my 33 Myths ebook for more information. The tiny price on the ebook helps cover the costs of time invested into research and production.
To answer my question above on insurance costs, the process of replacing the items from the polypharmacy approach with wild food enhanced blends of whole foods provides a functional food strategy to get the same blood chemistry outcomes but without the downside of what we call side effects. One of these is the fact that none of the drugs mentioned above actually improve our health, they only improve our blood work.
Why are we prescribed the drugs? Do they tackle the cause of the condition that brought on the symptoms of the disease state? Is it because we have a drug deficiency? Do we have a genetic need for statin drugs or Metformin or anti-obesity pharmaceuticals? Are we deficient in Allopurinol so we need it to reduce the incidence of uric acid crystals in our joints?
The ecological plan is that evolutionary foods provide the protection that stops the symptoms from developing in the first place.