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March 6, 2007, 2007 [Volume 1, Issue 5]

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The Dangers of Drug Reactions and Interactions: Simple Ways to Minimize the Risks

You've seen the prescription drug commercials, complete with the seemingly never-ending voice-over of potential side effects. But did you know that at least 1.5 million patients are injured each year by medication errors? With medication use at an all-time high in this country, it's time to reconsider the "just take a pill and you'll feel better" mentality.

All drugs, prescription and over-the-counter, have potential side effects. They can interact with other drugs, foods, diseases and herbal remedies. And if you are taking more than one drug at a time, you run the risk of suffering not only side effects from one or more of those medications, but also side effects caused by an interaction between the medications.

Is the solution to avoid medication altogether? While that's the ideal answer, for certain health conditions, medication is absolutely necessary, and quite effective. You can take advantage of these benefits while avoiding the dangers by purchasing a pill box/organizer, monitoring your medication schedule using a calendar, and getting acquainted with the look and feel of your medications. Your doctor should inform you in full about the risks of taking a medication – but of course, it's your health on the line, not your doctor's.

Take responsibility for your own health by asking the right questions, including whether there are natural alternatives, such as diet and exercise, that can improve your condition, instead of resorting to drugs.

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Nutrition for Older Adults

The older body has unique nutritional requirements. It really boils down to four things:

  1. Eating quality food. Along with the usual recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables and protein, mature adults particularly should be aware of the dangers of undernutrition and obesity.
  2. Choosing the right nutritional supplements. Certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can help in the fight to retain bone mineral density, fend off cancer and even protect your eyesight.
  3. Reducing alcohol consumption. Research has shown that even light drinking significantly raises blood pressure in middle-aged and elderly subjects (ages 40-69). Consider hydrating with water as a healthy alternative.
  4. Using extreme caution with prescription drugs. One study estimates that among older adults, nearly 2 million adverse drug events – a half-million of which are preventable and 180,000 of which are fatal or life-threatening – are suffered annually in the U.S.

Your body is seeking better food and the right nutritional supplements to keep you active and vibrant. Supplying what your body needs and restricting what can harm it will go a long way toward giving you the highest quality of life for years to come.

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Shedding Light on Low-Level Laser Therapy

Lasers are not just for television remotes, CD players or Star Wars fans anymore. Low-level laser therapy is approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has 30 years of research supporting its therapeutic use.

Dr. Anton Mester, a Hungarian physician, was the first to observe the tissue healing effect of low-level laser irradiation while attempting to use a laser to treat cancerous tumors in rats in 1967. His unexpected observations opened up a whole new world of possibilities for wound healing, pain relief and many other exciting applications.

From increasing circulation and anti-inflammatory effects to increasing production of the body's own pain relievers, laser therapy offers a whole host of health benefits. It has been used worldwide on patients of all ages to treat more than 150 different conditions, including muscle spasm, nerve pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back and neck pain, and knee and elbow injuries.

Your doctor can tell you more about the benefits of laser therapy and if this treatment technique is right for you.

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