You worry about suffering a heart attack or debilitating stroke, since aspirin is relatively cheap and freely available at the supermarket, it makes sense to pop a box into the trolley and regularly swig them down, as insurance.
The idea that an aspirin a day, will protect from heart disease, is pretty much embedded in the collective psyche.
But as with most chemicals – it works for some people, does nothing for some and is actually harmful to others.
Aspirin does work, but it only works some of the time
A fact that is not always highlighted when aspirin is being promoted for its heart health options.
Aspirin is an amazing compound, which relieves all manner of aches and pains and definitely lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease in some people. There is a very long list of clinical trials which demonstrate its effectiveness.
But it’s cardiovascular prowess doesn’t manifest in all people, in fact it doesn’t do a thing and might actually cause them more trouble than it is worth. There are several clinical trials which demonstrate its lack of effect.
So when does aspirin help ?
Researchers at the James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research analyzed the data from clinical trials to try and spot when aspirin works and when it doesn’t.
They included data from 23 studies in their analysis, which meant they were considering the outcomes in a whopping 113 000 patients.
NOTE : The more people included in any study, the better the study, so a study looking at 113 000 people is likely to get it right.
They crunched the numbers, paying attention to the gender of the people included in the studies.
Aspirin is for men
When the sample included mainly men – aspirin worked well. When the sample included mainly women – aspirin performed poorly.
At the end of the day, the researchers concluded, that women are less responsive to aspirin than men for heart protection.
Women are not the same as men
Gender equality strives for women to have the same opportunities as men, but somehow many people think that this means that a women is the same as a man.
Women are different.
The differences extend beyond basic anatomy, to physiology. Science is discovering that there are differences in the structure and physiology of the heart’s blood vessels.
And a quick look at heart disease, shows that there are striking differences in the symptoms and course of heart disease in men and women. To begin with, in women it typically kicks in much later – a benefit attributed to estrogen.
Drugs are not a one size fits all
The list of things that impact your response to a drug is pretty long
- What is actually wrong i.e. your pathology
- Your size
- Your age
- Your overall genetic package (pharmacogenomics)
- What you had for breakfast i.e. food you’re eating
- What other medication you’re taking
Unfortunately, most of the time, medications are prescribed for Mr Average.
Mrs average missing out
Chemicals both help and harm, it is important to work out what chemical(s) will work for you and to get the dose right.
In the case of aspirin, ladies be advised you may not be getting your money’s worth.
|Diabetics should dump the baby aspirin since it’s not enough to prevent cardiovascular disease||Margarine is a bigger menace for blacks than whites||Brushing your teeth is good for your heart|
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