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Consumer Reports: Are Americans hooked on pills?

Consumer Reports says Americans take more pills today than at any other time in recent history and far more than people in any other country. (CRTV)

Are we hooked on pills? Americans are taking more prescription pills than ever before, and more than people in any other country. While some drugs are life-savers, others might be doing more harm than good. Consumer Reports has suggestions on ways you can take fewer medications and feel better.

Doctors often diagnose the "pre-disease" stage of a condition -- for example, prediabetes or preostesoperosis. Sometimes they may put patients on medications to treat that. The problem is that the medication may not work well and pose potential side effects and risks to patients. Of course, catching or treating a disease before it progresses can be a good thing if it helps you address a problem before it leads to serious harm.

But drugs shouldn't always be the first line of treatment. Consumer Reports has compiled a list of 12 medical issues where lifestyle changes can be "prescribed" before a medication. For back and joint pain, instead of powerful opioid drugs, consider instead, yoga, tai chi, even physical therapy.

Of course, big lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, being more active, or losing weight are harder than just swallowing a pill, but the payoffs can mean healthy, drug-free and side effect-free living.

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