Excessive Prescription Of Antibiotics Is Taking A Toll On American Health

18 Oct

Zachary Hveem

The use of antibiotics in America, while likely not conceived of in this way, is effectively a part of one’s diet. In 2015, Healthcare providers wrote nearly 270 million antibiotic prescriptions, resulting in 838 prescriptions for every 1,000 people, or a little less than one antibiotic prescription per person. This is the average, and it is important to note that some patients will be administered many more prescriptions than the average.

A study done in 2010-2011 found that over 33% of antibiotics prescribed were likely not necessary. Americans consistently rely on antibiotics to fix their symptoms, rather than take preventative measures to try and keep the symptoms from ever developing. Of course, it is inevitable that medical problems are still to arise, and serious infections do call for treatment. Antibiotics are an extremely impressive development of modern medicine, and deserved have their place in doctor’s utility belt.

However, a reliance on antibiotics has developed, arguably overextending their administration for a multitudinous of problems that do not call for antibiotic aid. Hence, one out of every three prescriptions being unnecessary.

The excess use of antibiotics is not benign. As it turns out, these drugs may not be the best for your gut, and extensive use could develop into other problems. The overuse of antibiotics can drastically change your the makeup of bacteria living in your gastrointestinal tract. Antibiotics kill off bad and good bacteria in the body, as intended. 

Not by coincidence, gut health is one of the biggest issues facing the average American today. Up to 20% of Americans suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which is just one of the more common issues. The average person has trillions of microbes living in the body. These microbes help us digest and transfer fatty acids, which our cells need to grow and thrive. Antibiotics indiscriminately wipe out these microbes, while fighting off bad bacteria. Thus, the effort to fight off infection comes at a cost, which is the disassembly of what keeps the gastrointestinal tract running in optimal form. 

Antibiotics have there use, and are extremely effective when applied appropriately. However, it is quite apparent that their appropriate administration has been surpassed, and the state of American health is responding in kind.

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