Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Exercise is Medicine

When Zoloft was approved by the FDA for treatment of PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), Dr. Kimberly Yonkers of Yale University said, "Women with PMDD have significant impairment. They snap at their children, their spouse, they can't do everything they need to do at home, they pass on social engagements, sometimes miss work." (Geez, based on those symptoms, I'd say everyone has PMDD!) It should also be noted that Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft, funds Dr Yonkers research.

Anyway, it's reports like that and the advertising companies that make sure you hear about "illnesses" that drives up drug sales (and drive up insurance costs). Now I realize that there are some genuine need for medical treatment for mental and physical conditions, but these days it seems the drug industry wants to get everyone on a prescription.

I watched the documentary Selling Sickness recently and am now reading the book. Both will enlighten you about how the pharmaceutical industry are creating and selling illness. The drug companies are redefining the mild problems of everyday life--shyness, PMS, runny noses--as medical conditions. And conditions that put you at risk for some illnesses are marketed as diseases themselves, such as high cholesterol.

Can't get it up? Depressed? Anxious? Want to prevent or reverse osteoporosis? Uh, have diabetes? Are you fat? Having hot flashes? Shy? Madison Avenue develops campaigns telling consumers that they need a drug to deal with the realities of life. What they don't want you to know--and maybe you don't want to know either--is that for most conditions the one thing--the one free, accessible, easy-to-incorporate-into-your-life thing--to treat society's ailments is ...drum roll please...Exercise!

And you are less likely to suffer from 24 hour erections, oily discharge, excessive gas, moodiness, death, dry mouth, blindness, suicidal thoughts...just listen to those side effects in the commercials or read the fine print in magazines. Ugh!

There are no guarantees in life and certainly no magic pill, but if exercise can help you feel better, live longer, make you smarter, calmer, sexier, why resort to a drug when you can just
take it outside!
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