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In the United States, roughly half of the population suffers from diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol, or a combination of the above. Despite that, a huge percentage of people fail to understand the inherent dangers of drug interactions.

Simply put, when combined, a lot of different powerful drugs, necessary for the treatment of a huge variety of conditions and problems can cause dire problems when combined without prior research and the right checks. This has come to mean that adverse drug reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in America.

Which is insane, we shouldn’t be so busy treating cancer or whatever that we’re neglecting the next biggest danger behind it. That’s why staying safe and healthy during courses or regular use of drugs is absolutely essential.

It’s not just other drugs that can have bad interactions, there are also other things you should be avoiding while on certain types of medication, such as specific kinds of foods, but for the most part, this is nowhere near as dangerous as drug interactions.

Here’s why you should be paying some serious attention to what you’ve been given to take for your health condition.

The Dangers

In short, America has a real problem with drug interaction. Behind cancer and heart disease, at number four, is drug interactions. Generally, the problems come from poorly chosen medications, ignored medical records, and over the counter drugs.

It’s a very common situation to arise. All it takes is one doctor failing to take a proper look at what medication a patient is already on, which with the incredibly potent and powerful drugs used to deal with heart disease or other diseases, quickly becomes a major problem.

Then you’ve got patients who are already on complex or powerful drug regimens taking over the counter drugs to treat other issues or symptoms. This can also cause potent interaction problems.

When combined, the adverse reactions of these dangerous drug combinations lead to frequently fatal issues all over the body, frequently including multiple organ failure and other life-threatening problems.

The results of an adverse interaction aren’t always clear quickly either. It can cause slow, insidious damage to the body or organs, without becoming clear for several months, which can prove too late sometimes.

In the body of someone vulnerable, old, young, or with a suppressed immune system, these adverse effects can prove incredibly dangerous, and that’s exactly why they’re the fourth leading cause of death in the US.

Staying Safe and Healthy

If you or someone you know is on a broad selection of medications, and you’re concerned about drug interactions, there’s plenty of things you can do.

Firstly, always consult a trusted and reputable medical expert. Don’t get online and just start Googling and panicking, that won’t help anyone at all. Go see your doctor and have a conversation.

If for whatever reason that’s not really an option, you can go online and start doing some research. There’s a lot of pharmaceutical information and databases out there, so you can find out a lot, but don’t jump to any conclusions.

There’s also an app that can prove extremely useful if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by all the worrying and medical information on the net. It can be used as a nifty drug interaction checker, allowing you to keep abreast of all the potential worries or complications inherent to the drug combination you might be taking.

It’s a simple process, utilising the phone camera to scan the names or barcodes of the drugs you’re taking in order to check its online database of over 30,000 different drugs, frequently under multiple different names and designations. By doing it like this, it saves you from having to type in lengthy and awkward drug names, making it much easier to quickly enter a large number of different prescriptions.

Once it knows what you’re taking, it can search its database, cross-referencing the different reactions, side-effects and potential adverse interactions, saving you a trip to the doctor, and giving you some peace of mind.

This app was created by an experienced pharmacist who wanted to do something about the rising and alarming number of people dying in the United States from adverse drug interactions, and it can be very helpful if you’re looking to make sure your medication is completely safe for you.

Other Concerns

When you’re on a potent cocktail of multiple different medications for a health condition or disease, it’s not just interactions with other drugs that can cause problems.

Medication of all kinds is always something to be taken very seriously, and you should never just add other drugs into the mix, or take other medicine without first being absolutely sure about it. As a general rule, if you’re unsure, consult your doctor, it’s what they’re there for.

Food interactions can be another issue. Calcium-rich foods, pickled, cured or fermented food, vitamin K-rich foods, alcohol and grapefruit are just some of the potential trouble foods. As you can see, it’s not like you just need to eat healthily. Look up the drugs you’re on, and make sure you’re not eating a lot of anything that is contraindicated.

General side-effects can also be fairly dangerous too, especially if they’re not understood or expecting. Making sure your doctors always know exactly what medication you’re on is essential for making sure you receive the right treatment, and avoiding adverse drug interactions.

However, for the most part, side-effects of powerful drugs designed to deal with massive health conditions are for the most part unavoidable. You can take other supplements to help deal with them, but for the most part, they’re just part of the treatment.

Adverse drug interactions, on the other hand, can and should be avoided at all times. There’s no reason nowadays, with the internet, apps and accessible medical experts to allow adverse drug interactions to continue being the number four killer in the States. We just need to get the word out there, and make sure people start asking questions about their medication.