Ibuprofen is one of those catch-all drugs that's prescribed for everything from headaches to joint pains and arthritis. If you try to live a healthy lifestyle you probably take it for your sports injuries, and if you're over 40 it's essential for all the aches and pains of life.
But did you know there are some very serious risks associated with the drug?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs) like Advil are some of the most commonly used drugs in America, but that doesn't mean they're totally safe. Recently, America's health experts have actually strengthened their warnings about the drugs and their side effects.
America's Food and Drug Administration has warned that taking drugs like Aleve can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke (Advil is one of the few NSAIDs that doesn't increase this risk). They can even cause stomach ulcers and increase your blood pressure! If you depend on these drugs for pain relief, know that there are other safe and healthy alternatives.
For starters, there are gentler medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) that are less harsh on your body. They might not work as well to relieve your inflammation, but better safe than sorry! If you can't go cold turkey on your daily ibuprofen, doctors suggest trying a "acetaminophen vacation," where you take the less harmful drug for a few days at a time. (Remember to consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication.)
But be careful: even abusing these drugs has its risk, because overusing acetaminophen can really damage your organs. If you're looking for an alternative to daily pain medication, there are some exciting natural cures that growing numbers of Ibuprofen users are embracing.
So where should you start?
One of the most popular natural ingredients taken for pain and inflammation is turmeric.
Turmeric is a spice made from the plant of the same name. It's been used in natural medicine for centuries, but you'll probably recognize it as the spice that gives curry its unique flavor. Throughout Asia, turmeric has been used in holistic medicine for thousands of years.
This spice's main ingredient, curcumin, blocks the enzymes that cause inflammation, helping to relieve your pain. It has also been used as a cure for infections, colds, liver conditions and skin sores.
Turmeric is not addictive, and there are lots of convenient ways you can take it. Some people rub it directly into their skin, but you can also use it as a replacement for salt, or take a daily supplement that contains turmeric.
While the science is still out on exactly how effective turmeric is, it's worth a try if you're suffering from pain and worried about the effects of taking pills every day. Decide for yourself what approach is best for you, but it's important to know the risks attached to your medicine!
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