Inflammation is the common denominator of diseases ranging from cancer to the common cold. For decades now Advil, Aleve, Midol, Motrin, aspirins, and other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have been the go-to drugs for headaches, aching joints, menstrual cramps, and other symptoms of painful inflammation. Doctors widely recommend them, they’ve been on the market for years, and the average consumer believes they are safe. It is estimated that over 60 million people in US take them daily. The short-term relief they offer may tempt you to add to these numbers. When you consider the long list of adverse side effects and cost to your overall health, you might think twice before making them a part of your routine.
One of the most commonly experienced side effects is gastrointestinal irritation. In simple terms, NSAIDS interfere with the lining that protectively coats our stomachs. When the gut lining breaks down you might experience “stomach pain, heartburn, vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds, blood in the stool, or black and tarry stools,” according to the FDA required drug facts label for Ibuprofen.
In 2015 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced with that regular NSAIDs use can increase the risk for stroke and heart conditions, with the most common symptom being atrial fibrillation. Although NSAIDS are still widely available, the FDA now requires warning labels.
Millions of people take NSAIDS to suppress arthritic symptoms, not knowing that they may be worsening the disease. NSAIDS work by blocking the COX 1 and 2 enzymes needed to produce pro – inflammatory prostaglandins. While that can reduce pain and fever by inhibiting these prostaglandins that trigger inflammation, they also block the production of healing prostaglandins that are needed for a healthy cartilage matrix, and for the synovial fluid needed to lubricate joints.
At the 2015 conference of the European League Against Rheumatism, Sami Salman, MD reported that even short-term use of NSAIDs could adversely affect a woman’s fertility.
Dr. Gunnar Gislason of the University of Copenhagen called for tighter controls on the sale of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. “The current message being sent to the public about NSAIDs is wrong. If you can buy these drugs in a convenience store, then you probably think: ‘They must be safe for me.’ “Our study adds to the evidence about the adverse cardiovascular effects of NSAIDs and confirms that they should be taken seriously and used only after consulting a healthcare professional.”
What can you do instead? Stop seeing pain and inflammation as the enemy. See it as a helpful warning. Make needed dietary changes - eliminate packaged, processed foods and make sure you are getting the nutrients you need to help control inflammation and keep you feeling your best. Get regular sleep, rest, and exercise and manage your stress levels. A knowledgeable health care practitioner can help you evaluate and monitor your health, design a personalized treatment plan, identify underlying issues, and give inflammation the boot.
© 2017 Kristina D. Allred, M.S.O.M., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)
M.S. Oriental Medicine
Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)
Kristina Allred holds a Master of Science degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a Licensed Acupuncturist, and is board certified in acupuncture by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She has extensive experience in nutrition as well as herbal medicine. Kristina is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Kristina’s background also includes working in organic agriculture and as a chef. Kristina is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements at Vital Health in Coeur d’ Alene. Visit our website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Kristina, join our e-mail list and read other informative articles. Kristina can be reached at 208-765-1994 or firstname.lastname@example.org and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.