According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, Americans ages 65 to 69 take an average of 15 prescriptions per year; those ages 80 to 84 have 18 prescriptions. That's in addition to the uncounted over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements and more that people may be taking, alone or in combination.
Health experts are urging patients, caregivers and doctors to be more cognizant of both these numbers and their consequences. Many supposed remedies are unnecessary or used incorrectly. They can be dangerous, too, particularly when taken in combination. For example, taking aspirin regularly increases the risk of bleeding in patients on a prescribed anticoagulant like Coumadin. One recent study found that one-third of medications prescribed to patients at a skilled nursing home had side effects that worsened underlying conditions.
The phenomenon is called polypharmacy. Talk to your doctor about it. If he or she has never heard the word, it's time for a bit of mutual education.
Get Me That, Stat!
It's estimated that 20% to 30% of people bite their nails, according to a 2017 paper published by dermatologists at Weill Cornell Medicine. The percentage among teens approaches 45%. Nail biting is called onychophagia. The first nail clippers were patented in 1875, but the type most commonly used now did not debut until 1881.
0.08: legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in most states.
4: Number of times your chances of a traffic accident have multiplied at the legal limit.
29: Number of people who die in the U.S. each day due to a car crash involving an alcohol-impaired driver.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration