- 52 million Americans suffer from this disease. Find out if you are one of them
- Big Pharma’s high-grossing medications could be destroying your health while treating your inflammation
- Easy tips and two supplements to get you started on the road to better health.
January was a tough month for celebrity losses. Every week seemed to bring the death of an iconic rock star or actor. From musicians David Bowie and Glenn Frey to actors Dan Haggerty and Alan Rickman, there was one death after the other.
While all of these deaths were certainly tragic, what may not be as apparent is that one of these heartbreaking deaths could be the result of drug-induced complications.
Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, that is.
And these aren’t rarely used or prescribed drugs.
Actually, some of these drugs are so common, they are likely in your home, office, travel bag, or car right now.
Due to modern medicine’s use of these health-destroying meds as the first line of defense against arthritis, a disease that affects 52 million Americans, they have become household products.
The word arthritis means joint inflammation. However, the term actually encompasses over 100 conditions and diseases that disturb the functions of joints, joint tissues, and connective tissues. In cases of rheumatic arthritis, the immune system also plays a key role in the functions of the disease.
Since the crippling pain and immobility of these conditions are debilitating, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America.1
But arthritis isn’t just keeping people in pain and out of work. It’s also keeping them poor.
In fact, according to the CDC, this disease costs Americans approximately $128 billion annually: $80.8 billion in direct costs like medical expenses (including medications) and $47 billion in indirect costs like lost earnings.1
So it’s not a stretch to imagine this disease, if being treated with widely used pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter drugs, may be putting a dent in your wallet as well.
In reality, the truly scary part of all of this, these drugs may also be putting a big dent in your health — just like they may have done to Glenn Frey.
Today, we will uncover how arthritis medications negatively affect the body and how they may have contributed to the death of beloved founding member of the Eagles Glenn Frey, who died from pneumonia and colitis.
Also, we will take a look at natural solutions that help arthritis sufferers support joint health and reduce inflammation.
Expensive and Deadly Results
Since there is no cure for arthritis, reducing pain and inflammation is the best possible health endpoint one can hope for.
This is most commonly achieved through medications in Western medicine.
And even though around 40 arthritis medications have already been removed from the market by the FDA due to dangerous side effects, there are still hundreds for arthritis patients to choose from.
These types of medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic response modifiers (biologic DMARDs) drugs.
NSAIDs, including common over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen, quickly relieve pain and inflammation and are used to treat the immediate symptoms of arthritis.2
Also commonly used for everyday pains and aches, NSAIDs are a staple item in many households. In fact, over 275 millions boxes of over-the-counter NSAIDs were sold in 2013 (most current data available), accounting for over $1.7 billion in sales.3
NSAIDs can lead to health issues like ulcers, stomach bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart and kidney problems.
DMARDs more commonly treat rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs help to suppress the immune system. However, it can take several months to feel the full effects of DMARD drugs.4
Plus, they can interfere with the immune system’s natural ability to fight infections, which may lead to more serious health issues.
One type of biological response DMARD are TNF alpha blockers. TNF blockers, which gross a whopping $22 billion annually for Big Pharma, come with serious side effects that can lead to things like upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. 5,6
In fact, the negative health outcomes were so severe, in 2009, the FDA required black-box labeling of some of these drugs to warn physicians of cancer risks in young adults and children.6
If you connect the dots here… it sounds like the combination of these types of drugs could have led to health complications like Glenn Frye suffered.
Like the other millions with arthritis, Frey was using prescriptions in an attempt to curtail the painful symptoms of this incapacitating disease.
Frey’s friends stated that medications he was taking for his rheumatoid arthritis were the cause of his health complications and, ultimately, his death.
The group’s manager, Irving Azoff, reported:
The colitis and pneumonia were side effects from all the meds. He died from complications of ulcer and colitis after being treated with drugs for his rheumatoid arthritis, which he had for over 15 years.7
Azoff didn’t report which rheumatoid arthritis medications Frey had been taking.
The good news is you don’t have to turn to Big Pharma for help managing your arthritis pain — there are easy things you can do to help alleviate inflammation and increase overall health.
I will share a few today.
The Natural Solution: Anti-inflammatories Without Risk
If you or someone you love is suffering from arthritis, there are safe and natural options to reduce inflammation without running the risk of destroying your or their health.
A good starting point for reducing inflammation is your diet. Try to avoid processed ingredients, dairy products, and trans fats.
Plant-based diets may bring relief, but you need to be careful of which fruits and veggies you are selecting. As Jasmine LeMaster, Quality Assurance Manager for Living Well, points out in her article, nightshade produce (tomatoes, eggplants, etc.) can increase inflammation.
Once your diet is on track, regular exercise is another key component to keeping your joints working properly. Adding 30 minutes of low-impact exercise to your day is a great way to start.
And lastly, adding certain supplements to your diet can decrease inflammation. These include ginger and turmeric.
While adding these two natural spices to your diet is a great way to increase your intake, it may not be enough to support joint pain.
Supplementing your diet is the only way to be sure you are getting the proper dosage.
If you have any arthritis hacks, share them with me! Nmoore@lfb.org
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
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