Questions are from Dr. McMurtrey’s weekly column, “Ask Dr. Kim”, in the Elizabethton Star newspaper

From John S. in Siam, TN:

Question: I am 56 years old and take a total of 12 different medications! Three for blood pressure, a couple cholesterol pills, some stomach pills, and a couple that I am not sure what are for. Is there any way to ever get off these pills once you start them or am I stuck on them forever? It seems that I spend half my pay check each month on pills.

Answer: Yes, there is a way to get off blood pressure pills, cholesterol pills, and stomach pills. It starts with a thorough physical exam, complete food intake history, exercise history, family history, and lab work. Most hypertension and cholesterol can be corrected with proper food intake and adequate exercise. Your provider should sit down with you to make a “game plan” on how to achieve your specific health goals. There are specific things you can do to help decrease your need for stomach pills also. For reflux, simply elevating the head of your bed about 4 inches by placing wooden blocks at the base of your headboard may help. Also, avoid drinking chlorinated/fluoridated water- spring water is best for acid reflux. Avoid dairy products and high fat foods within 2 hours of bedtime. Many people drink milk to soothe reflux when, actually, milk causes your stomach to produce more acid than any other food. A refrigerated probiotic may also be helpful.