When we think about living sustainably, we need to factor our medical demands into the equation.

Going to a hospital, taking a lot of medicines – these things don’t tend to be particularly easy on the environment.

When we take good care of our health in the obvious ways of eating right and exercising regularly, we are also doing the earth a favor.  I recently wrote an article for Isthmus, Madison’s edgy weekly newspaper, on the complications we can face from adverse drug reactions.  Causing more drugs to be manufactured than we actually need and then suffering cascading and debilitating side effects from drug interactions is not the green path.   These issues just compound as we age, and a LOT of us are aging.

Here’s the article.

Dazed and confused:

Adverse drug reactions take a heavy toll on seniors

Olivia Carriola was frightened. The 67-year-old was dizzy and disoriented. “I didn’t know what was happening to me. I was bouncing off the walls,” she says. “In the hospital, the doctor told me I had low sodium, but they didn’t tell me where it was coming from.”

Carriola eventually got the answers she needed when she received a comprehensive medication review at the DeForest Area Community and Senior Center. “Now I know that the Tegretaol XR I’m prescribed to relieve seizures is what’s lowering my sodium, and I have to be very careful about how much water I drink,” she says.

When she was low in sodium, Carriola got confused and started taking her medications the wrong way. “Things were just getting worse,” she says.

The pharmacist who did the medication review wrote a letter to Carriola’s doctors, who made changes in her blood pressure medication. She also learned some of her meds had expired. “I didn’t realize I shouldn’t take those,” she says.

Now that her medications are under control, Carriola is much more likely to maintain her independence. That’s good news for her and her community. There are more than 50,000 seniors in Dane County, and that number is projected to reach 112,000 by 2030, the year the last baby boomer turns 65.

Read more here.

2 replies

  1. A good point indeed. Doctors may know quite a bit about diseases, well the common ones, but they are not pharmacists and sometimes they don’t realise the interactions that drugs have on the body and on each other. It’s good to see though that there are medication reviews possible.

    I suppose there is also the issue of antibiotics and there ready availability. I was surprised to see antibiotic creams available in supermarkets in the US. Our risks to infections only increase due to the liberal use of antibiotics and that is hardly a sustainable route either.

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