What Does Aspirin Do for the Heart?
It is commonly said that aspirin is good for preventing heart attack and stroke. But have we been lied to all this time? Or can aspirin in small doses be beneficial in the prevention of certain conditions. What does aspirin do for the heart, or health issues in general, if anything?
It has always frustrated me the way health and nutrition rules or recommendations fluctuate and conflict over time. Coffee is horribly unhealthy…no wait…1-2 cups per day are beneficial. Eggs are a definite no-no and cause huge cholesterol spikes….oh wait…only the yolks are bad for you…. no, it has now been discovered that eggs are an excellent source of protein and should be enjoyed routinely. Need I go on?
However once in a while there is a scientific breakthrough that is a positive improvement to our health habits. Even those recommended by scientists and physicians for years, all with excellent intentions, can be proven wrong.
Those who declare staunchly, “You cannot argue with science” are correct in some cases. However new scientific breakthroughs do occur and should be accepted. Otherwise people would still believe that spraying children with Deet throughout their bodies would keep them safe from ticks and other harmful insects. Or that smoking is relaxing and perfectly safe and healthy. You get the idea.
Does Aspirin Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke?
Since 2016 the Preventive Services Task Force experts have recommended aspirin for people in their 50’s and 60’s with a risk of heart attack or stroke. However Dr. John Wong, a member of that organization now has this to say, “Daily use of aspirin can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes in some but it can also cause serious adverse effects such as internal bleeding.”
This update is in line with the current recommendations of other organizations such as the American Heart Association. In adults 40-59 who have a 10% or higher cardiovascular disease risk, the low dose daily aspirin decision should be up to the individual. Evidence indicates that the benefits of this practice are small.
For those 60 or over the recommendation is now a definite no. However these recommendations are only for the primary prevention group, which refers to the prevention of the first occurrence of heart attack or stroke. For those who already have cardiovascular disease it is wise to continue with the aspirin.
Also recommended in 2016 by that same panel was to take baby aspirin for the prevention of colorectal cancer. They now caution that more research is needed.
Aspirin Can Be Somewhat Useful, But Also Dangerous
Aspirin inhibits the formation of blood clots that can block arteries but new studies have raised concerns that regular intake increases the risk of bleeding in the brain and the digestive track, and these dangers increase with age.
Dr. Jim Liu MD cautions that aspirin offers only a very modest benefit in preventing cardiovascular disease.
All this being said, it is now recommended that those already taking baby aspirin should stop, particularly if they have already experienced a heart attack or stroke.
Consequently, considering these new findings, I believe it is best to go back to living a healthy lifestyle rather than depending on a baby aspirin a day. I put my money (and healthy heart) on nourishing food, exercise, low alcohol consumption, and lowering of stress.
Natural Medicine authority Dr. Michael Murray says, “One of the most popular recommendations for preventing a heart attack or stroke in healthy people is the recommendation of a baby aspirin or low dose aspirin. Although extremely popular, this advice has NO scientific support. According to two detailed reviews of all existing data published in the European Heart Journal the use of a baby aspirin a day has ZERO clinical support.”
Eat Healthy Food!
The super heart healthy foods include oatmeal, dark chocolate, green tea (without fluoride!), coffee, avocado, leafy
greens, nuts, salmon, garlic, and fruits and berries. Supplements should include vitamins and minerals, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, folate, grape seed extract, amino acid such as Taurine, and coenzyme CoQ10.
However I have one word of caution. Rather than taking a calcium supplement, it is healthier to consume calcium rich foods. Too much calcium can cause an increase in plaque buildup in the arteries. If you have been found to be really deficient in calcium a low dose supplement is recommended.
So What Does Aspirin Do for the Heart, Actually?
Well, not much that is good. As usual, eating healthy and exercise are the answers for prevention and staying disease-free.
I hope this assists you in your very important heart health decisions. Especially as age creeps up on us, it is essential to treat our precious heart with tender loving care.