Friday, July 1st 2005
Recent Research Challenges Beliefs
In spite of its "wonder drug" reputation, the evidence against aspirin keeps mounting.
It appears elderly people with no history of cardiovascular disease may sharply increase their risk of bleeding in the brain and/or the gastrointestinal tract if they take a daily low-dose of aspirin to help prevent heart attacks. But how does aspirin use affect people who already have cardiovascular problems?
After a patient experiences a first heart attack or stroke triggered by thrombosis (a blood clot in the heart or a blood vessel), many doctors prescribe an anti-thrombotic regimen of aspirin or warfarin (a prescription blood thinner).
As reported in the July 2004 issued of the American Heart Journal, UK researchers at the University of Hull divided 279 subjects from the Warfarin/Aspirin Study in Heart failure (WASH) into three groups: one group received 300 mg of aspirin daily, one received a standard daily dose of warfarin, and a third group received placebo. Each of the subjects had experienced either heart attack or stroke, prompted by thrombosis.
After an average follow up period of more than two years, the researchers found that neither the aspirin nor the warfarin therapies provided any greater protection against death, nonfatal stroke, or nonfatal heart attacks than the placebo. In fact, subjects who received aspirin therapy were nearly twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke as were those who took warfarin or placebo. Gastrointestinal problems were also elevated in the aspirin group.
In an interview with Reuters Health, the lead researcher of the study, Dr. John G.F. Cleland, stated that any theoretical benefit of using aspirin after a heart attack "is outweighed by real evidence of harm."
Yet despite that, the reality remains: Gastrointestinal bleeding from NSAID's (including aspirin) is responsible for an alarming 16,000 deaths in the United States each year. How many in New Zealand?
Reproduced unabridged from the July - September 2005 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.
Footnote from Ideal Health:
The following products are all useful for Cardiovascular Health:
Coenzyme Q10 150mg
Mega Strength Beta Sitosterol
Garlicin - Cholesterol Control
Hi Strength Liquid Fish Oil
Ultimate Omega + CoQ10
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If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
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