(AscendHealthy)- If you thought all over-the-counter medications were harmless, it’s time to take a look at what’s in your medicine cabinet. Over 15 million people in the United States take proton pump inhibitors, often called PPIs, for heartburn and acid reflux. Yet studies have shown that PPIs can increase the mortality rate. Using PPIs on a consistent basis for months or even years can lead to further problems regarding one’s health.
What Are PPIs?
Many common medications that can be purchased over the counter and are targeted for heartburn and acid reflux are considered proton pump inhibitors. These include medicines such as Nexium, Prilosec and Protonix, to name a few. PPIs work by blocking H+/K+ ATPase, and blocking or limiting the amount of acid in the stomach. This makes it possible for individuals to eat and feel comfortable, without the problems of acid reflux or heartburn after a meal.
Risks Linked to PPIs
People who use proton pump inhibitors for a year have a 25% increase in mortality rate. These are not the only health problems that can occur, however. There are both short-term and long-term adverse effects. Short-term effects can include headaches, rashes or fatigue. Long-term effects range from iron deficiency and bone fractures to chronic kidney disease and colon cancer.
Who is Most at Risk?
Research has shown that there is no limit or type of person who is most susceptible to the effects of using PPIs. Much of the research conducted features individuals who are usually 64 years or older, with higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. However, what is most notable about using PPIs is how long individuals use them for. While many people use these medications for months or years, they should be reassessed by their doctors if they stay on PPIs for more than four weeks. Overall, it is normally the length of time one is on the drug that increases they chance of death, rather than a person’s genetic background.
While many people may assume proton pump inhibitors are safe because they are easily accessible, it’s important to know the consequences that come from long-term use. If you use PPIs on a regular basis, it can help to talk with your doctor and find out what other options are out there that can work for your needs without serious consequences to your health later on.
~ Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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