A recent report by the Mayo Clinic states that almost 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug. Seventy percent. That number is astounding to me.

The number-one most common prescription drug is antibiotics. The over-prescription of antibiotics is a problem that I have covered many times. This study confirms the gravity of the situation. Number two on the list is antidepressants, another concerning statistic not only because the mental health care in this country is poor, but also because many chronic conditions are treated with antidepressants because the doctor concludes the symptoms are, “all in your head.” Does this sound familiar to you? Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) all come to mind. Number three on the list is opioids, or opiate pain pills—yet more bad news considering the highly-addictive nature of these drugs.

Prescription drug use has been increasing for the past decade. Yet are we, as a nation, getting healthier? Not quite. We are getting sicker, and the pharmaceutical industry is making more money. Something does not add up.

I promote healthy living habits as an approach to achieve and maintain vibrant health. I have seen the renewal of health come for many people who first addressed their digestion as a way to bring about total-body health. I have seen the detrimental effects of unnecessary antibiotic use, inappropriately prescribed antidepressants, and the addictive effects of opioids, not to mention a host of other complications that resulted from inappropriate prescription drug use.

I urge people to become their own health advocates through education and positive lifestyle changes. Navigating the medical care system can be intimidating, but if you take control of your health by learning about your options and making healthy choices, you, too, can renew your health.