Debunking The Mythical Benefits Of Aspirin For Seniors

As long as five years ago, I had been wavering about recommending aspirin as a preventative measure against heart disease and stroke, but really turned against it after reviewing a British Medical Journal study. Times and proverbial wisdom have changed greatly since then, considering one Harvard writer and pharmacist now believes aspirin would never have been approved as an over-the-counter drug by the FDA had it been introduced today.

A new study published online by the British Medical Journal (see free link below) further debunks the halo effect of a daily baby aspirin for seniors over age 70. Australian researchers believe any benefit seniors might get from taking a daily aspirin may be offset by bleeding risks.

Scientists constructed a mathematical model based on clinical trial demographics of 20,000 men and women between ages 70-74 who were followed to their deaths or age 100. Out of the virtual group of 20,000, about 700 heart attacks and 55 strokes would've been prevented. Sounds like a good "benefit" until you factor in the bleeding risks. Some 500 additional episodes of gastric bleeding were calculated among men and 570 in women. About 130 men and women would suffer from bleeding in the brain.

On the surface, you may be led to believe the risks of taking aspirin are certainly worth the alleged benefits. Fact is, you don't need to take aspirin -- or any other drug at all -- and never worry about that risk of bleeding if you follow these simple steps:

British Medical Journal May 20, 2005 Free Full-Text Article

Yahoo News May 20, 2005

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