Triggered by a request from Bayer to update its aspirin label to suggest that daily aspirin use is a universally beneficial health choice, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reversed its prior position on the practice. The FDA had previously suggested that small doses of simple aspirin taken daily could help prevent heart disease by thinning the blood, keeping platelets from sticking to plaque on damaged artery walls. However, when otherwise healthy people take aspirin on a regular basis, the evidence shows that the negative effects outweigh the positive.

Research conducted nearly a decade ago by Dr. John G. F. Cleland, a cardiologist from the United Kingdom, demonstrated that rather than necessarily prevent cardiac events such as heart attack or stroke, aspirin was changing the nature of how those events manifest, and may actually mask that an event was taking place. With overly thinned blood, cardiac events and strokes in process were slipping by undetected. 

In the years since, a large number of studies have investigated the other ways that overuse of aspirin – whether in men, women, diabetics, those who have and those who haven’t had prior cardiovascular events – is not the universally beneficial act as previously believed. Overuse of aspirin has been linked to increases in bleeding (including brain hemorrhage and gastro bleeding), damage to the gastrointestinal tract in general, kidney failure, increased risk of certain types of breast cancer, cataracts and blindness, hearing loss, erectile dysfunction, and other health problems. 

Dr. Mercola outlines several ways to take care of your heart rather than the widespread daily aspirin suggestion that has now been rescinded by the FDA. Chronic inflammation, Dr. Mercola argues, is a core issue in supporting cardiovascular health. Tip #1 is to adopt a truly heart-healthy diet, including eating more raw food, avoiding processed foods, ingesting healthy fats, drinking plenty of clean water, limiting dietary sugar, and being conscious of agricultural chemicals, among other things. See this article for further details on a heart-healthy diet.

Dr. Mercola’s other tips for improving heart and cardiovascular health include avoiding trans fats, exercising and changing one’s eating schedule, and improving blood viscosity by grounding oneself on the earth. This last tip is based on the old practice of walking barefoot on the ground, and which is gaining new attention for its scientifically-proven beneficial effects.

The adverse effects of overuse of aspirin are significant. By implementing other ways of caring for the cardiovascular system, a more sustainable means of health and wellness may be achieved. If you have further questions, please talk to your doctor at Midway Chiropractic on your next visit.