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An Aspirin a Day…Doesn’t Keep the Doctor Away

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Nearly 800,000 people die each year from cardiovascular incidents….that includes both heart attack and stroke. Combined it’s easily the number one cause of death in the United States.  So it’s easy to see why it became a focus of attention and why doctors and individuals alike have been looking for a means of prevention.

Due to this, nearly 40,000,000 (yes, that’s 40 million!) Americans take aspirin every day in the hopes of preventing heart attack and stroke.  If you’re one of these millions, you may want to put that aspirin bottle down and follow the latest recommendations of the FDA. Such recommendations actually reverse their previous position and state:

“FDA has concluded that the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, a use that is called ‘primary prevention.’ In such people, the benefit has not been established but risks — such as dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach — are still present.”

In the full Position Paper, the FDA notes that the only people who receive any benefit at all are those who have had a prior heart attack.  Even in the presence of what’s called a “familial predilection” or, simply stated, a family history there is no evidence to support taking an aspirin every day.

Interestingly, the reversal of its position was prompted by a request from Bayer Aspirin to change its label to say that taking aspirin each day can help prevent heart attack in healthy individuals.  It would seem Bayer wanted to add to its 1.27 Billion dollars in sales of aspirin to have all of us taking it!  While reviewing the literature over the last many years, the FDA found that studies not only didn’t support the use of aspirin for this purpose, but indicated just the opposite!

A 2004 study in The American Heart Journal showed patients using aspirin exhibited worse cardiac outcomes, especially heart failure.

A Scottish study in the Journal of the AMA in 2010 did not reduce the rate of heart attack in asymptomatic people with high risks for heart disease.

In 2009 The British Medical Journal had an article looking at diabetics at risk of heart disease which again showed no benefit from aspirin use.

Nearly 40,000 women were studied in a 10 year Harvard study on aspirin use which showed no fewer deaths among ladies receiving aspirin therapy.

Another study in 2010 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed patients taking aspirin actually had a higher risk of recurrent heart attack and associated heart problems.

The list of additional studies demonstrating the same and more is quite long but the conclusion was inescapable….the recommendation for the use of aspirin in the prevention of heart attack is simply not there.  Therefore, it may be wise to heed the FDA recommendation with regard to regular aspirin use and simply………stop.

What’s the solution to prevention then?  Clearly, it’s not as easy as a bottle of any elixir!  The primary key appears to be reducing inflammation in the body which is chronic in nature!  These simple ways to reduce inflammation will be explored in greater detail in our next segment but include:

  1.  Assuming a diet healthy to your heart (which is great for your body in general, too!)
  2. Exercise
  3. Avoiding Trans Fats like the plague
  4. Utilization of limited and wise supplementation to reduce inflammation


Until then….you might seriously think about putting down that aspirin bottle….!



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