Four Healthy Resolutions for 2014

With the new year upon us, many are beginning to think about resolutions. Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., BCPS, associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy suggests four easy resolutions for a healthier 2014.

Learn exactly what goes into your body. “Start by writing down every prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, herbal supplement, vitamin, energy drink, or enhanced water you have in a week,” Tiemeier says. “The length of the list may surprise you.

Talk to a pharmacist about your current health and what your goals are in 2014. Take the list of medications and supplements you created to your pharmacist. “As medication experts, pharmacists are trained at spotting potential interactions that could be causing you problems,” Tiemeier says. “Your pharmacist may be able to work with your physician to reduce the number of medications you take.”

Clean out the bathroom medicine cabinet. “It’s hot and humid in there, which can reduce the effectiveness of medications,” Tiemeier says. “A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you don’t remember the last time you used it, it’s probably time to have it replaced.  Also, use this time to find another spot for pain relievers, antacids, or any other “as needed” medications.

Do not flush the medication down the toilet or sink. Dispose of it properly by looking for a medication disposal program in your city. More and more cities now have permanent drop-off sites located in police and sheriff’s department stations.

Get enough sleep. “Insomnia is a common side effect of some medications, and it may be made even worse if you’re taking multiple prescriptions,” Tiemeier says.  Even if you don’t have insomnia, getting enough sleep will provide you with more energy which helps you to remain active and make healthier decisions.

“Overall, be reasonable with your goals and only make one change at a time,” Tiemeier says. “It takes time to break an old habit and start a new one. Talk to your family and friends about being a support system to encourage positive change.”

Tiemeier also suggests helping an older relative accomplish these same goals. According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, individuals ages 65 to 69 take about 14 prescriptions every year. That number jumps to 18 prescriptions a year for those 80 to 84 years old.

“It is incredibly important for older adults to have all of their medications reviewed by their pharmacist on an annual basis,” Tiemeier says. “Reviews are also a good idea after any significant changes in health such as a hospitalization or major changes in medications.”

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