If you are over the age of 60, you are probably taking an aspirin a day on your doctor’s orders… and this misguided recommendation all comes down to the mainstream touting the over-inflated health benefits of taking an aspirin a day.
Over the years, the mainstream has been pushing this drug for many numerous health reasons: from being a cancer-fighter to preventing dementia.
However, as per usual the risks of popping one of these pills on a daily basis are not promoted with the same rigour. So just in case you are still following your doctor’s advice, here are just a few reasons why you should take caution:
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): Two very recent long-term population studies have shown a serious link between losing your vision and taking a daily aspirin… especially if you are doing this on a long-term-basis (5 years or more).
- Gastrointestinal bleeding: Now this is a well-known risk. And it is a very serious one too. In fact, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) estimates that adverse gastrointestinal events linked to long-term use of aspirin and other NSAIDs are responsible for well over 100,000 hospitalisations each year.
- Liver toxicity: A few years ago a study claimed that an aspirin a day could help prevent liver damage… Well, it turns out the exact opposite is true: long term high dosages of this drug can in fact cause liver damage… and the risk is much higher (even at low doses) if you already have a compromised liver.
And taking an aspirin after a heavy night of drinking to prevent a hangover in the morning, is probably one of the worst things you can do to your liver.
- Compromised kidney function: A study, published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, found a strong link between taking a low dose aspirin long-term and compromised kidney function in elderly patients.
- Atrial fibrillation: Danish researchers found that 60 days or more of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) use, including aspirin, increased risk of atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) by 40 per cent.
So, the next time your doctor tells you to take a daily aspirin, ask him about the risks I mentioned above. Chances are that he probably won’t be too interested in what you have to say, but it’s worth a try.
If you are looking for a safer and healthier way to protect your heart other risk-free ways to help do that is by getting more magnesium from leafy greens and nuts.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Klein BE, Howard KP, Gangnon RE, Dreyer JO, Lee KE, Klein R. “Long-term Use of Aspirin and Age-Related Macular Degeneration.” JAMA. 2012 Dec 19;308(23):2469-78
“Common Painkillers May Increase Risk of Irregular Heart Rhythm” MyHealthNewsDaily, 7/5/11, myhealthnewsdaily.com
The effect of mini-dose aspirin on renal function and uric acid handling in elderly patients, Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Jan;43(1):103-8
“Blinding Consequences of Aspirin” Whole Health Insider, 2/28/13, wholehealthinsider.com