America’s Lesser-Known Silent Killer (It’s not what you think!)
Depending on how often you watch the news, you probably feel like there are plenty of ways your life is at risk. From pesticides in your food to cell-phone radiation (and oh, so much more) we are bombarded daily with run-to-the-hills warnings.
But did you know that one of the deadliest aspects of life in America is actually something we are not doing?
That’s right. The failure to take essential prescription medications when and how prescribed leads to 125,000 preventable deaths each year.* Just let that sink in for a moment. We aren’t talking about people who are undiagnosed and don’t yet have a treatment plan. This is a number that reflects those who have seen a doctor, have a diagnosis, and have been prescribed medication to avoid a medical emergency. It’s called “Medication Non-Adherence” and according to the AMA, two thirds of Americans with prescriptions are non-adherent.
“There are plenty of people out there choosing not to take the medications their doctor has prescribed for them.”
And then there’s an entire universe of more intentional non-adherence. Whether somebody feels they are healthy enough to skip their medication, is concerned about side effects, or simply doesn’t understand the gravity of their condition, there are plenty of people out there choosing not to take the medications their doctor has prescribed for them. According to NCBI: “As many as 50% to 80% of patients treated for hypertension are nonadherent to their treatment regimen. According to the WHO, this lack of adherence is the most important cause of failure to achieve BP control.1 Failure to achieve BP control significantly increases the risk of MI, stroke, and hospitalization.” How many people do you know who may unwittingly be putting themselves at risk of a heart attack or stroke? And here’s another concerning statistic: roughly 50% of mentally ill patients don’t take their medications as prescribed.
It raises the question: how do we remedy this? When someone we know and love has a chronic medical condition, we don’t typically ask if they are taking the pills the doctor dished out. We assume they are! But what if our brother who suffers from bipolar disorder hasn’t been taking his prescription for the last month? Wouldn’t we like to know? And although we know our mother-in-law has all the medications she needs to keep her hypertension in check, should we be checking she has a system in place to ensure she doesn’t skip a dose? At Hero, we believe it’s time to open up the dialogue. To ask those close to us if they are having any trouble keeping up with their medication schedule and if there is anything we can do to help. Because we don’t agree that those 125,000 premature deaths should be part of the status quo and we know that, together, we can end this silent killer.
Find out how we are making adherence easier, here.
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The contents of the above article are for informational and educational purposes only. The article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified clinician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or its treatment and do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of information published by us.