The Aspirin/Heart Myth

The following is from Dr. Mercola’s site, full article here

Nearly ten years ago, Dr. John G. F. Cleland, a cardiologist from the University of Hull in the U.K., wrote an excellent article published in the British Journal of Medicinei casting doubt upon the efficacy of aspirin therapy for prevention of heart attacks.

Based on a series of meta-analyses from the Antithrombotic Trialists’ Collaborationii, which is an enormous body of research following more than 100,000 patients at high risk for cardiac events, Dr. Cleland concluded aspirin therapy was NOT shown to save lives.

He made the following main points:

  • Antiplatelet activity of aspirin is not as safe and effective as widely believed.
  • All large, long-term trials involving people treated with aspirin after having a heart attack show no benefit for mortality. In other words, those who take aspirin don’t live any longer than those who don’t.
  • Aspirin seems to change the way vascular events present themselves, rather than preventing them. The number of non-fatal events may be reduced, but there is an INCREASE in sudden deaths. Aspirin may conceal a cardiac event in progress.

He wrote that the studies claiming aspirin is beneficial are seriously flawed, and interpretation of those studies is biased. In the years since Cleland’s original research, there have been numerous studies pointing out aspirin’s questionable benefit, as well as its sizeable risks.

More Science Showing Aspirin’s Dismal Failure

In 2004, Dr. Cleland published the results of a new study (Warfarin/Aspirin Study in Heart Failure, or WASH) in the American Heart Journal in which he investigated antithrombotic strategies in 279 patients with heart failure. He found that the patients who received aspirin treatment actually showed the worst cardiac outcomes, especially worsening heart failure. Dr. Cleland concluded there was “no evidence that aspirin is effective or safe in patients with heart failure.”

Then in 2010, another studyiii looked into whether or not patients taking aspirin before an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) were at higher risk of recurrent problems or mortality. ACS is a term used for any condition brought on by sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart, such as a heart attack or unstable angina. The study found that patients who were taking aspirin showed a higher risk for recurrent heart attack and associated heart problems.

Thus far, aspirin’s performance is quite unimpressive. But what about aspirin’s benefits specifically for women?  As it turns out, aspirin fares no better with women.

In 2005, Harvard conducted a studyiv to investigate whether or not low-dose aspirin offered cardiovascular benefits for women. They followed nearly 40,000 healthy women for a full 10 years. Again, the results did not show any heart benefit from aspirin therapy; researchers concluded aspirin did NOT lower the risk of heart attack or death from cardiovascular causes among women.

Aspirin Never Proven Safe or Effective for Diabetics

Cardiovascular disease is a serious concern if you have diabetes, and a number of studies have set out to determine whether aspirin can offer a degree of protection. Three studies have shown the benefits to be either inconclusive, or nonexistent.

  1. In 2009, a study in the British Medical Journalv found no clear evidence that aspirin is effective in preventing cardiovascular events in people with diabetes. Results differed between men and women, but overall, they found no clear benefit and called for more studies on aspirin’s toxicity.
  2. Also in 2009, a Swedish studyvi examined the effects of aspirin therapy in diabetic patients. Researchers found no clear benefit that aspirin is beneficial for diabetics but did note that it can increase the risk for serious bleeding in some of them. They stated that the current guidelines for aspirin therapy should be revised until further study is done.
  3. In 2010, a meta-analysisvii in the U.K. examined six trials consisting of 7374 diabetic patients, comparing the relative cardiac risks for aspirin users and non-users. They concluded, as did the other researchers, that aspirin did not reduce heart attack risk for diabetic individuals.

It’s pretty clear that aspirin isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be when it comes to preventing you from having a heart attack. But is it doing any harm? Well, as it turns out, the answer is yes—in a number of possible ways.

Aspirin Increases Your Risk of Hemorrhage, GI Damage, and Several Other Problems. Routine use of aspirin has been associated with the following problems:

In fact, there are studies listed on Greenmedinfox showing aspirin’s connection with 51 different diseases! The most well established side effect of aspirin is bleeding, which results from aspirin’s interference with your platelets—the blood cells that allow your blood to clot. According to one scientific articlexi, long-term low-dose aspirin therapy may DOUBLE your risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.

You can certainly understand how a bleed is possible, given what is known about the effects aspirin has on your GI tract.

For example, a studyxii done earlier this year investigated the effects of low-dose aspirin on the gastrointestinal tracts of healthy volunteers. After only two weeks, the group receiving aspirin showed “small bowel injuries” capable of interfering with blood flow (diagnosed upon endoscopic examination). And a 2009 Australian studyxiii showed that aspirin causes gastroduodenal damage even at the low doses used for cardiovascular protection (80mg).

The damage to your duodenum—the highest part of your intestine into which your stomach contents pass—can result in duodenal ulcers, which are prone to bleeding. A Japanese studyxiv found a higher incidence of bleeding at the ulcer cites of patients with duodenal ulcers taking low-dose aspirin therapy, versus those not taking LDA. More than 10 percent of patients taking low-dose aspirin develop peptic ulcers.

The risk of bleeding is particularly pronounced in the elderly, which is very concerning as the elderly are often put on aspirin prophylactically to protect against cardiovascular disease. With all of these adverse effects, why risk it when there are safer and more effective alternatives?

The following is from Dr. Mercola’s site, full article here

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