Healthcare by committee can have unhealthy consequences. The side effects of taking a daily aspirin have become well known and now the committee who made the original recommendation for the health of it is telling us to stop, since the practice places us at risk.
The US Preventative Services Task Force which is an independent volunteer panel of national medical experts (USPSTF) has just rescinded their recommendations for low-dose aspirin. For years, low-dose aspirin has been recommended by doctors for adults over 60 years of age to reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Aspirin is not a food and is not meant for long-term usage. According to Wikipedia ”
Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is a medication used to reduce pain, fever, or inflammation. Specific inflammatory conditions that aspirin is used to treat include Kawasaki disease, pericarditis, and rheumatic fever.
Evidence suggests it reduces heart attack risk by inhibiting the action of platelets which may clot and cause a first heart attack. On the other hand, aspirin also causes bleeding ulcers which are common with those who have taken the medication preventatively long term.
As in all healthcare regimens, it is important to consider if the benefits of prevention outweigh the risks of the intervention. The reason that the USPSTF made this change in policy is that the risks for gastrointestinal complications outweigh the risk abatement by taking the drug.
Doctors according to the NY Times today should no longer advocate a daily regimen of aspirin for their patients. There is however growing evidence that inflammation may play a larger role in heart attacks, gut, inflammatory diseases, and even arterial dissection. High inflammation is linked to stickier platelets and potential blood clots resulting in heart attacks. This has been a point of view spoken about in alternative or functional care circles and is slowly being recognized by mainstream medicine.
Healthier ways to prevent a first heart attack
Perhaps, to be healthier, staying away from or reducing refined sugars, avoiding insulin resistance, and eating better could be the way to better health instead of taking a pill. Are heart attacks just a symptom of poor health practices that had become part of American Culture?
There are natural ways to reduce risk by reducing inflammation including those lifted in a paper by Bradley J. McEwen in the article “The Influence of Diet and Nutrients on Platelet Function. The article says that “Diets such as Mediterranean diet, high in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and vegetarian diets have inverse relationships with CVD. Dark chocolate, foods with a low glycemic index, garlic, ginger, omega-3 PUFA, onion, purple grape juice, tomato, and wine all reduce platelet aggregation. ” You can read the full text at Pubmed.gov. Published in 2014, this offers a natural path forward that reinforces the idea that inflammation reduction can reduce heart attack which was not available years ago when the original recommendation was made. Perhaps a cohesive future policy should be made that reduces sugar and inflammatory processed calorie leaden foods. Only time will tell but the best available evidence says diet will make us healthier, not aspirin.
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