How Adopting Simple Health Measures May Help You Reduce Your Medications
When you have a chronic health problem, taking medications can help you manage your condition. There are justifiable reasons why physicians prescribe medications. For example, medicines for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can be helpful, even life-saving. Using medicine for any of these conditions can also help you suffer less in the future.
But each medicine in the bathroom cabinet has risks. Your body has to process each medication, usually in the kidneys or liver. Adding new medications can overwhelm your body’s processing centers in these organs. This is especially true if your organs are not working as well as they should. Taking many medicines can increase the possibility of medication interactions. Medications can also counteract each other. This means they can cause each other to have an effect that is too weak or too strong.
For all these reasons, sometimes improving health means reducing medications. Healthcare providers can help you reduce your prescription medications. In place of medications, you may be able to use simple preventive care actions instead.
Why Is It Important to Reduce Medications?
Medications can be a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. But they should not be the only part of preventive care. When you rely only on medications, it can increase your risk of medication side effects. Relying only on medications can also decrease medication adherence. Poor disease management happens when people don’t take their medications as prescribed.
Many health conditions can improve when you adopt simple healthy living measures. These include physical activity, improved nutrition, and a focus on sleep. These three healthy living pillars can have positive effects. They can allow a physician to lower an existing medication’s dose or even “deprescribe” it.
How Exercise, Nutrition, and Sleep Can Help Reduce Medications
It may sound hard to believe at first, but your lifestyle can have a bigger impact on many health conditions than medications. It’s hard to understate the benefits of exercise, nutrition, and sleep. Holistic lifestyle changes can do the work of many medications. In fact, when you change your lifestyle, you may need to take less medication. However, it is important to make medication changes with your doctor and not just change your medicine on your own.
Exercise for Better Health
Exercise can help you lower your blood pressure naturally. When you exercise your body, you’re also exercising your heart muscle. This can make your heart muscle more efficient, and it will have to work less hard (with less pressure) to pump blood throughout your body. A simple activity like brisk walking for 30 minutes can exercise your heart and lower your blood pressure. Doing this three days a week can also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Nutrition for Better Health
Eating a diet specific to your medical needs can also help lower your need for medications. For example, if you have diabetes, you can improve your blood glucose control by eating a diabetic diet. If you have high blood pressure, you can help improve your heart health by lowering your salt intake. If you can stick to them, these measures may have a similar effect on your health as taking a pill for blood glucose or blood pressure.
Sleep for Better Health
Sleeping well each night can also help you improve your chronic health conditions. The recommended amount of sleep is seven to nine hours nightly for adults. Studies show that a lack of quality sleep is linked to many health conditions. These include high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity, among others.
The Value of the Doctor-Patient Relationship When Reducing Medications
When you’re considering ways to reduce your medications, it’s important not to do it on your own. You should talk with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medicine or adjustments to your lifestyle. You and your doctor need a strong line of communication during this process. The partnership you have with your physician is crucial when it comes to sticking with treatment plans and health goals. A good doctor-patient relationship means you can share any concerns with your physician and keep them aware of side effects and how you’re doing with any changes you make together. A good relationship also means that your physician can give you advice about how to manage in between appointments and whenever you have a concern.
How to Learn More about Replacing Medications with Healthy Living Measures
A healthy lifestyle can be as important as taking daily medications. However, it can be hard to strike a balance between medications and a healthy lifestyle. This is why having a good relationship with the doctor helping you manage your chronic conditions is so important. Talking to your doctor about how to create new lifestyle habits can go a long way in making it possible for you to reduce some of your medications in the future.
Our primary care providers care about patient outcomes. They also know how easy it is for seniors to get lost in the current medical care system. ChenMed primary care physicians give their cell phone numbers to patients. This way, patients have access and support 24/7.
To learn more about replacing a medication with holistic care, we can help. Use the “Find a Location” tool and call to schedule a center tour today.