Things I Learned This Week

While I recognize that I’m getting older (okay that I am old), I’m still a learner. So this week I’m sharing some “old person” knowledge.
  • NSAIDs cause problems for older adults. Each year 41,000 older adults are hospitalized and 3,300 die as a result of ulcers caused by NSAID use.
  • At least 16,000 auto crash injuries involving older drivers are attributed to the use of psychoactive drugs (benzodiazepines and antidepressants).
  • Each year 32,000 older adults experience fractured hips that can be attributed to drug related falls (sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants). These falls result in more than 1,500 deaths.
  • Approximately 163,000 older Americans have serious mental impairment (memory loss, dementia) that are either caused or worsened by drugs (minor tranquilizers, sleeping pills, high blood pressure drugs, antipsychotic drugs).
  • Two million older Americans are addicted or at risk of addiction to minor tranquilizers or sleeping pills because they have used them daily for at least one year.
  • Drug-induced tardive dyskinesia has developed in 73,000 older adults. This adverse reaction to antipsychotic drugs is often irreversible.
  • Drug-induced parkinsonism has developed in 61,000 older adults. This is attributed to the use of antipsychotic drugs and at least one drug prescribed for heartburn/gastric reflux.
  • For some older people, diabetes is a side effect of taking statins (for cholesterol), steroids, beta-blockers (for high blood pressure) and antipsychotics.
  • Antacids, antidepressants, some blood-pressure medications, and narcotic pain medicines often cause constipation. Prescription medications for constipation may cause diarrhea, headache, nausea, gas, stomach cramps, or upset stomach.  (How does one get out of the medication/medication for side-effects/medication for side-effects of side-effects medication cycle?)

This is frightening information for this older person who is developing old-people-type problems. I recognize that the percentage of people who have problems with drugs is not huge with relationship to the population of older adults in the U.S. (40.5 million in 2010), but I really want to avoid being a statistic. As luck would have it, I had an allergic reaction to a recently prescribed statin, and my doctor told me I should never again takes statins. He recommended that, instead, I control my cholesterol with a diet and exercise regimen.

Really? I don’t actually need the convenience of popping that pill every day?

So I’m now stuck with just my daily vitamins and supplements – eleven of them. O yes, I’m also trying to stay off of ladders. I did backslide this week and fix something that has been bugging me. I know there are statistics concerning older people and falls from ladders, so please don’t tell my kids!

- Information from web sources including “Worst Pills/Best Pills”
- T-Shirt: Oasis Advanced Wellness


  1. Oh, but there is a pill for everything!

    1. Vanilla, I know. I found that out when Dad lived with us.

  2. The tee shirt sums up the problem, but I like your words better.

    1. Secondary Roads, it's hard to know what decisions to make concerning treatment. I know that some people are living because of their medications.