DOES ASPIRIN REALLY PROTECT OUR HEART?
Of course it does. Right? I mean…this has been drilled into our collective minds by Bayer and our doctors and other advertising for decades now, so it has to be true. Wasn’t hormone replacement therapy good for us? And dairy? Isn’t dogma wonderful?
Unfortunately in medicine, we begin with a great concept (at least, from a “give a drug to everyone to prevent a single disease” mindset) but it may take decades before the studies catch up with the concept. More often than not, the reality does not hold up to the promise.
Statins were all initially approved to lower risk of heart attacks. Problem was, we didn’t actually test this. We ASSUMED this because statins lowered cholesterol. Turned out, years later, that they weren’t all that great at lowering heart attack rates. Now the engine of statin use has been plugging along for so long that we’re finding it really hard to slow it down despite the evidence that they just suck at lowering first heart attack rates.
Back to aspirin. It’s known that aspirin contributes greatly to bleeding ulcers. To hemorrhagic stroke. Even to pancreatic cancer (that’s a scary one we don’t hear too often!). These negative things are glossed over when we talk about how great aspirin is. But do they really work at protecting our hearts and brains?
Without much fanfare, in 2009 a dogma-destroying study was published that demonstrated no benefit for the average person taking aspirin on their vascular event risk. The benefits were higher for those above 70, but below 70 the person would have to have a much greater risk of heart disease to see a benefit. Get that? NO BENEFIT for the average person. This is another dogmatic concept that will die a very, very slow death. Maybe not even in our lifetimes. This current article looks at 90,000 patients and finds similar outcomes–while there was a small change in the risk for a non-fatal heart attack, no differences were seen in risk of death from heart disease, stroke or all cause mortality. Overall, not much to hang our hats on. Heck–combine aspirin with statins and salt reduction and you still can’t lower your risk more than a walk around the block!!
Worse, all this flies in the face of REAL recommendations like the Mediterranean diet, which has consistently shown strong reductions in diabetic and heart disease risk. Same thing with nut consumption (again–NO added oils!). The problem with lifestyle and dietary changes is that the side effects of death are very high. Heck, Jack LaLane only lived until 96 and worked out for 2 hours the morning before he passed. If it didn’t work for him, what can us normal people hope for?