We live in a pill culture


  • Although a heart-healthy lifestyle is a potent medicine in the management of cardiovascular risk, a large Finnish study finds that many — but not all — patients forgo healthy habits after starting a statin or antihypertensive medication
  • People who get started on medications for their increased cardiovascular risk may let other things slide.
  • Results show that body mass index (BMI) ticked up among all participants, but the average increase was larger among those starting an antihypertensive or statin medication

The latest data provides more support for the belief that the initiation of preventive medication is more likely to substitute for a healthy lifestyle. In other words “pills are a substitute for living healthier lives”.

We’re used to hearing about exercise fending off heart attacks. The American Heart Association promulgated the country’s first set of exercise guidelines in 1972. And it’s not hard to envision why exercise helps the heart. If you’re physically active, your heart gets trained to beat slower and stronger, so it needs less oxygen to function well; your arteries get springier, so they push your blood along better, and your levels of “good” HDL cholesterol go up. So why don’t people exercise more?

Studies show that over 60 percent of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity and over 25 percent of adults are not active at all. Physical inactivity is estimated to cause 3.2 million deaths a year globally, making it number four on the list of risk factors. In the United States, inactivity combined with a poor diet is second only to smoking as a risk factor for death.2 There is much evidence showing that regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health, better than any pill that we have.

Most people don’t need to be physically active unless they choose to be. And most evidence suggests that the choice of the kind of activity is far less important than whether to be active at all. About half of adult Americans don’t meet one of the most oft-cited guidelines, which calls for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (a fast walking pace) most days of the week — and you can accumulate that total in bouts of 10 to 15 minutes. About a quarter of American adults say they devote none of their free time to active pursuits.

As of the writing of this article, it’s reported that more companies are trying new in-house online health initiatives but when they expect employees to be available 24/7 via email and office hours often go way past quitting time how are employees supposed to find the time to exercise?

What most companies do know is that healthcare costs are becoming a bigger expense and they need to find ways to trim the costs. However, this requires them to spend more money on health intervention that may not have a demonstrated ROI.

Pharma does provide a solution for those who don’t attempt t control their high blood pressure or cholesterol with diet and exercise although some see it as an attempt to “keep people sick for profits” which is absurd. If these medications were not available more people would require extended healthcare adding to costs and cutting productivity.

We live in a pill culture because people don’t exercise or eat right. Today you can even have the worst fast-food delivered right to your door with a few clicks. Drive thru’s ensure you don’t need to walk into a restaurant to eat and the excuses for not exercising continue along with the rise in our nation’s healthcare costs.