Huntington Woods Care & Rehabilitation Center of Westlake is dedicated to the health and well-being of the entire community.
In that spirit, Huntington Woods hosted a ‘Lunch & Learn’ Program last week on understanding medications and how they work.
Medications, said professional lecturer Tom Strong, are powerful friends to those who need them. A little understanding enhances your knowledge of how they act in your body.
“A drug can end up in any organ because it flows through the bloodstream throughout the entire body,” said Strong, citing the way many common medications work:
- Blood Pressure Medications that reduce the energy hormone adrenaline can slow everything down. Some effects may extend to the Thyroid gland (control how fast or slow you burn calories), Travel to Legs/Arms Muscles (exert force), cause Fatigue (reduces the energy hormone in the muscles) or affect the Colon (constipation).
But, “Just because a drug has side effects doesn’t mean you are going to get them,” shared Strong.
- Statin Drugs are used to lower cholesterol. Labels must say they may cause diabetes and memory loss. Why? Brain cells are lined with cholesterol. If cholesterol gets too low, it may affect the brain cells lined with cholesterol. Also, you must get liver tests twice a year (medication is very powerful).
- Heartburn/Acid Reflux Medication can reduce stomach acid in the body by 90 per cent. But, if you reduce stomach acid by 90 per cent, you won’t be able to digest your food, you won’t get vitamins and minerals you need, and a drop in calcium.
- Diabetes medications can cause weight gain, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, confusion dizziness, sleepiness, dry mouth, weight gain, nausea, heartburn, irregular heart rhythms, nightmares.
It is up to you as a patient to educate yourself on meds you take, said Strong. Doctors see 25-30 patients a day in 10-15 minute visits and are reimbursed less and less by insurance companies.
All this creates a scenario where you, as a patient, are better off becoming your own advocate. Ask questions, get explanations and understand your medications.