The Magic PillIN HEART HEALTH
Aspirin, the familiar and readily available pain reliever, can be part of a heart-healthy therapy for certain types of people, but experts agree that it's not right for everyone. Is it right for you? Here's a brief overview of the pros and cons from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help you decide and proceed safely.
Not Just a Pain Reliever
Because of its ability to inhibit the clotting of blood, aspirin taken as prescribed by your doctor can reduce your risk of:
- death or complications from a heart attack if the drug is taken at the first signs of a heart attack
- heart attack if you've had a previous heart attack or experienced angina (chest pain)
- recurrent blockage if you've had heart bypass surgery or other procedures to clear blocked arteries
- stroke if you've had a previous stroke or have had a warning sign called a transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke)
Recognize the Risks
The potential benefits are impressive, but the very same thing that makes aspirin beneficial—its ability to inhibit blood clotting—may pose serious risks such as:
- increased danger to long-term alcohol users of stomach bleeding and liver damage
- increasing your chance of excessive bleeding, including bleeding in the brain
- stomach irritation causing heartburn, pain, vomiting, and over time, internal bleeding, ulcers, and holes in your stomach or intestines
- temporary ringing in the ears and even hearing loss that usually disappears when the dose is lowered
For these reasons, aspirin is not approved by the FDA as a heart-attack risk reducer for healthy people. So, what should you do to reduce your risk of a heart attack? Follow your doctor’s advice, eat healthful foods, exercise regularly, and don't smoke.
| Read the Label
In the 1920s, the only aspirin manufacturer at the time ran an ad campaign to assure consumers that aspirin would not damage their hearts. Today, aspirin is actually prescribed for its heart-healthy effects. Even with its proven heart helpfulness and pain-relieving qualities, aspirin still might not be for you, advises WebMD Health. You should not take aspirin if you are a:
In addition, you should contact your doctor for advice if you take aspirin and have:
Sources: fda.gov, amercianheart.org, scientificexploration.org© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.