Life is still "crazy-busy" and months later you notice you are unusually tired. After some blood work, your physician informs you that you are anemic again and prescribes an iron supplement. But almost immediately upon taking the iron you find yourself constipated and really uncomfortable so your physician prescribes a stool softener to offset the constipating effects of the iron.
The next stageA couple of years go by and you begin to experience heart palpitations, leg cramps and more irritability than normal. Your physician refers you to the cardiologist and after 30 days on a Holter monitor and some blood work, you are told no "organic" cause for your palpitations was found. However, your cholesterol is "up" a bit and you receive a prescription for both a calcium-channel blocker for the heart irregularities and a statin to lower your cholesterol. With your palpitations abated and your cholesterol 20 points lower, your physician is pleased with your treatment. But the stress in your life hasn't diminished with all the changes at work and the divorce. At your next annual physical, you mention that you are having difficultly sleeping. "If I could just sleep!" you say and you receive a prescription for a sleep medication. Two weeks later, your physician's office calls saying that your bone scan shows the early stages of osteoporosis. Fortunately, it was detected early and you receive a prescription for a bisphosphonate to "slow the bone loss".
Although you fill the prescription, you find yourself increasingly concerned about your persistent fatigue, forgetfulness, and periodic brain-fog. Feeling a little "down" about it you mention it to your closest friends, who quickly reassure you its all "normal" and just "part of getting older!" After sharing these concerns with your physician, you receive a prescription for an SSRI to deal with what is now diagnosed as "depression". Now you have a handful of medications to swallow each day and you still don't feel "well". But, you are too busy to figure it all out and your physician is not particularly concerned, since this is all "normal for your age". Twenty years later, you are diagnosed with dementia.
The slippery slopeNow let's keep track. You started with being stressed, over-tired, eating poorly and the resulting effects on your digestion. Your physician prescribed one of those ever-popular "acid-blockers", (Rx #1). By impairing the production of stomach acid necessary for the ionization and absorption of essential minerals, including iron, the anemia you had previously corrected, returned. The iron supplement your physician prescribed was unfortunately a poorly absorbed inorganic form, such as iron sulfate, (Rx #2), which gave you constipation.
While the stool softener helped your bowels, you remain tired and prone to brain fog as your iron stores remained low. After years of silent mineral-malabsorption from these two drugs, your tissue stores of magnesium became depleted, resulting in muscle spasms, irregularities in heart rate, increased fatigue, irritability, easily-aroused anger and other signs of low magnesium. The cardiologist prescribed a calcium-channel blocker, (Rx #4), to deal with the cardiac symptoms and a statin drug, (Rx #5), to reduce your body's production of cholesterol. You were not told to take Co-enzyme Q10 to offset the inevitable negative impact of the statin drug on mitochondrial function.
Your fatigue, moodiness and irritability continued. You received a prescription to help your sleep, (Rx #6), and a bisphosphonate drug, (Rx #7) to "help your osteoporosis" which resulted from the severe demineralization. Your physician didn't check your magnesium level properly, so you were then prescribed an SSRI to treat "your depression", (Rx #8). After years of relying on fast foods laced with aspartame, MSG and other excitotoxins, the signs of dementia eventually began to appear. At this stage "aggressive treatment" was recommended and two drugs were prescribed to help offset the cognitive decline, (Rx #9 and #10). What a way to begin your retirement.
You joined!Like millions of Americans, you joined the Perpetual Patient Program. There were no application forms to complete, no minimum age requirements and you didn't even have to be of "legal age" to take part. All you needed was a symptom, a diagnosis and a desire for a quick fix. It is a program borne of the unrealistic desire to live out of sync with our biology and genetic predispositions and simultaneously silence the expression of the consequences.
It is the ultimate "buy now and pay later" program, where you pay nothing up front but it will cost you everything in the end! It is the "default" outcome when we fail to listen to our biology and address causes rather than treat symptoms.
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About the author:
Jeffery Scott Sullender, PhD, CCN is a author, researcher and health educator. He is author of "Mind Myths" and "Wisdom from Machu Picchu: 3 Words to Change Your Life" published by www.ClinicalNutritionPress.com