If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or pretty much any cardiovascular disease, your doctor has most likely prescribed you low doses of aspirin. It’s a standard procedure most doctors do without even thinking. But a new study from Japan, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that more caution is needed.
It’s not that it should never be taken, but there are several things to keep in mind before popping this pill. In this study, 14,000 older Japanese people who had some type of cardiovascular issues were prescribed a low dose of aspirin.
For five years the rate of heart attack, stroke and death were monitored and compared to those of a similar group of people who did not take aspirin. Long story short: the researchers found no connection between taking aspirin and the frequency of stroke, heart attack or deaths.
However, there are several factors to keep in mind. You see, the frequency of heart attack is much lower in Japan than in America and Europe. In fact, there were so few heart attacks that the study had to be cut short due to statically insignificant data. On the other hand, stroke is more common in Japan than in the west. So maybe the results would be different in a different country.
There were some strong indicators that taking aspirin decreased the risk of ‘mini-strokes and chest pain. At the same time, aspirin increased the risk of serious bleeding. Additionally, although aspirin is considered to be quite safe, it does come with several serious side effects. Some of the common side effects are rash, gastrointestinal ulcerations, abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, gastritis and bleeding.
If you are taking aspirin and suffering from side effects from it, or are concerned about bleeding, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about the pros and cons of taking this medication. Especially since there are no clear indicators of its heart health benefits.
The best route, however, is to completely heal your heart and arteries so you don’t need to be dependent on any drugs.