by Dr. William B. Ferril
It's bad enough when Big Pharma uses us as their guinea pigs. It's unconscionable when they do it to our children.
A new study brings to light some horrifying numbers when it comes to children and prescription drugs, and it confirms what most of us have suspected all along: More kids are taking more drugs, including powerful meds to control conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
The study, published recently in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, looked at the prescription records of 6 million U.S. children between the ages of 6 and 18.
It found a 15-percent increase in the use of blood pressure medications by children since 2004, and a 23-percent rise in diabetes meds over the same period.
This just makes my blood boil, because these are often conditions that can be controlled with lifestyle changes and other non-drug treatments at any age.
Take high blood pressure. I've found that in some cases these problems are caused by nutritional deficiencies, and I take great pleasure in helping my patients throw away their blood pressure meds for good when they learn how to control it on their own.
I've even put together a guide for lowering your blood pressure without drugs in the May issue of Health Revelations.
That puts me several steps ahead of the American Heart Association, which admits it doesn't know the cause of the 90 to 95 percent of high blood pressure cases they label "essential hypertension."
Since they don't know the cause, they don't really know how to treat it either. That leaves most doctors to just try out different drugs on their patients until they find a pill that seems to work.
Again, that guinea-pig treatment is plenty bad for adults. But it's far worse when they do it to kids. The problem is too many doctors are conditioned to answer every problem with a prescription drug, when the most effective solution is to find -- and treat -- the cause.
The news on diabetes is even more troubling.
Children simply should not be developing Type 2 diabetes, and certainly not at the rates we're seeing now. The fact that they are means there are some potentially serious lifestyle issues that need to be addressed.
That can't be done with a pill.
But there's a glimmer of hope. The same study found that prescriptions of statins for kids have actually decreased. That may seem counterintuitive at first, when you consider that Big Pharma has been making an extra push to get these cholesterol-lowering drugs into the hands of kids.
The researchers believe the public outcry over that very move has made a difference. Your outrage has caused doctors to think twice about pushing these needless meds on children.
Don't expect it to stop there, though. Big Pharma is already moving forward with a new push to get youths, along with everyone else, on those statins.
But at least now we know that we can make a difference -- if we're loud enough.
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