June 25, 2024

Healthcare Supreme

Technology In Healthcare

Medicine 101: Understanding Different Types of Medications and Their Uses

Antibiotics (to treat a bacterial infection) – and other drugs that enable the body to create things it would otherwise be unable to produce (such as insulin for diabetes or thyroid hormone for thyroid disease) – are the norm for almost everyone.

In addition to addressing symptoms, functional medicine considers your entire health history in order to identify what might have triggered illness in the first place, while providing ways to live healthier by changing diet and lifestyle habits.

Vaccines

Our immune systems are made up of cells, tissues and organs integrated to protect our bodies from microbes and bacteria that would make us sick – equipping them to identify and eliminate malevolent invaders the moment they pass through our orifices, thereby protecting us from getting ill.

They are concentrated with what are known as antigens – dead or weakened viruses or bacteria that cause disease and which will re-emerge in later life to make you sick. Vaccines also keep you safe from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, polio and – as already mentioned – cancer as a threat.

Vaccines must pass rigorous clinical and regulatory testing before they are ever authorised for general use. Since vaccines are not medicines to cure disease, but rather a way to prevent illness, they tend be safer than drugs. This is especially important for babies, children, elderly people and anyone who has a compromised immune system.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are drugs that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria but, unfortunately, they don’t work against viruses – the cause of most runny noses, colds and sore throats (streptococcal throat infections are an exception).

Prior to the discovery of antibiotics, which dates back to 1928, many people died from otherwise curable bacterial infections, such as strep throat. Life expectancy has risen, surgeries are safer from infections, and many can recover from otherwise lethal infections with minimal difficulty.

Some have activity against only selected bacterial groups or species while others, like the tetracyclines and macrolides, are broad spectrum meaning they kill multiple species; in such cases, empiric therapy should use empiric antibiotics but for those that kill multiple species the choice is important to try to select for those strains least likely to be resistant.

Pain relievers

Pain-relieving drugs (analgesics) diminish the experience of pain. Analgesics do not act on the nerves to block them, and they do not alter consciousness like anaesthesia. There are two main categories of analgesics: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioid analgesics (opiates). Pain-relieving drugs (analgesics) diminish the experience of pain.

OTC analgesics – acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin in general health products such as Tylenol, Advil or aspirin – can be used to relieve such pains as headaches, sore backs or the cramps that sometimes accompany menstruation. Morphine or oxycodone – which require a prescription – should be taken only if needed for more serious aches, including chronic diseases such as arthritis and even cancer.

No matter what medicine you take, always read directions before the first use and follow them carefully. Otherwise, you can have side effects. Non-drug management of health conditions such as exercise and healthy eating habits can also help – ask your doctor about more details.

Blood pressure medications

Blood pressure medications, also known as antihypertensives, are medicines that control high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Although several different classes of medication have been developed to addresses hypertension, there are some patients who are required to take more than one class of drugs in order to get their blood pressure normalized.

Doctors will prescribe patients one of four broad types of medication to lower their blood pressure: thiazide diuretics (such as the medicine chlorthalidone); angiotensin II receptor blockers and calcium channel blockers. These medicines reduce pressure on the arteries and blood vessels, which in turn helps to bring down blood pressure as well.

Side effects from medicines may arise and they can be serious. Always, always read the prescription label, and ask your physician or pharmacist to provide you with any further, necessary information.