According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly 60 percent of adults in the U.S. take at least one prescription drug regularly. That number is up nearly 10 percent since 2000. There has also been a rise in the number of adults who take five or more medications regularly.
While prescription drugs that reach the market have been proven to work, they can also be dangerous. All have side effects and many have addictive qualities. In fact, 6 million Americans report they use prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.
Due to the dangers surrounding prescription medicine, it's not surprising many doctors dedicate themselves to using more alternative, non-invasive and non-addicting solutions to treat patients. Unlike prescription drugs and surgery, regenerative medicine is safe for children and adults. Instead of introducing foreign substances to the body, regenerative medicine uses the body's own substances and materials to treat health problems.
What kinds of regenerative medicine exist? There are countless medicines, and we've covered many in previous articles. Two that you may be familiar with are platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell therapy.
PRP treatments can help manage everything from damaged or aging skin to osteoarthritis. It's a non-invasive procedure that uses a patient's own blood to treat a medical problem. To perform PRP therapy, a doctor first draws a small amount of blood from a patient. He or she then places the blood into a centrifuge, which is a machine that separates the blood into three layers: plasma, platelets and white and red blood cells.
Once separated, the doctor uses a syringe to gently inject PRP into wounded or damaged areas of the body. The process takes roughly 15 minutes.
On the other hand, stem cells have the unique ability to transform into other types of cells. While doctors first learned these cells could be derived from animals in the 1980s, they've only recently discovered the extent to which stem cells could help humans.
Since scientists first drew cells from human embryos in 1998, they've been able to pull stem cells from other areas of the body such as bone marrow, hair follicles, dental pulp and skin. These are called non-embryonic stem cells. Stem cells have been proven to treat problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder, osteoarthritis and even baldness.
Regenerative medicine is a great option for people who are hesitant about relying on addictive prescription medicine or painful, invasive surgery.