Don’t take pills for every minor ailment that befalls you

In the past 60 years, significant development has occurred in field of pharmaceuticals. Man has been able to conquer many diseases due to this hard work done by people discovering new medicines.

In the past 60 years, significant development has occurred in field of pharmaceuticals. Man has been able to conquer many diseases due to this hard work done by people discovering new medicines.

Today, the range of medicines available   is amazing. The same medicine can be obtained in tablet, injection, syrup, inhaler, spray and ointment forms, among others. 

From drugs for fever, infections, pain, medicines are available for every possible physical and mental, real or imaginary problem. There is a pill for every condition. Allergy, loss of appetite, indigestion, impotence, insomnia, feeling down, weight problems; there are pills for any ailment.  

But it is equally important to ponder whether all these pills are really needed; can one can do without it? Do the cons outweigh the benefits in some cases?

Antibiotics are useful against infections. But many times people buy it by for minor problems like cold or just throat irritation. Then they tend to take it just for a day or two, that is, in inadequate doses. Little do they realise that, this way, they expose themselves to side effects of the antibiotic, B. Complex deficiency and the risk of germs getting resistant to the antibiotic.

A wide range of medicines and syrups is available for digestive disorders like flatulence, dyspepsia, constipation, etc. But a change in diet habits and lifestyle is more beneficial and safer than taking these drugs. Whatever relief these drugs provide is transient. Unless one corrects his diet and lifestyle, the symptoms will relapse.

Pills for insomnia are beneficial for somebody needing total rest as after a major operation or heart attack. But some people use them on a daily basis. After sometime they become dependent on it and the existing dose tends to become ineffective. Then they have to take higher doses, thus increasing the risk of addiction.

Pills to reduce weight became popular after their launch. But soon their side effects started coming forward. People using them experienced low blood pressure, much sedation and dizziness, marked dryness of mouth, constipation, etc.

Similarly, drugs used to induce appetite also cause marked sedation and dryness of mouth. Medicines for impotence carry risk of sudden low blood pressure and cardiac arrest.

There are various kinds of vitamin, proteins, etc, nutritional supplements. They are used in specific situations. But many people use them to remain healthy or gain more strength. Such people do not realise that no medicine is a substitute for natural food. Food available naturally provides many micro nutrients which these supplements lack. Moreover, overdose of vitamins can produce toxicities. Overdose of proteins can damage the kidneys.

Drugs used to treat depression can induce abnormal postures of limbs and body.

No drug can substitute for a healthy disciplined life. A person who takes a balanced diet, has adequate physical exercise, keeps his mind and body relaxed and keeps away from addictions always remains healthy and strong. 

Dr Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

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