It’s surprising how much of our behavior is driven by myths. You know the stuff that nearly everyone firmly believes to be fact, but that’s simply not true.
There’s NO medical basis for drinking eight glasses of water a day. Walking around with wet hair WON’T cause you to catch a cold. You DON’T have to wait half an hour after eating before you swim.
Oh, and the five-second rule? If your food is on the floor for even one second, you probably want to toss it.
But arguably, the worst myth of all could be causing millions of Americans to harm themselves every day. And they’re doing it thinking it’s something that’s protecting their health.
They’re popping a daily aspirin to shield their hearts.
But typically, there’s no reason to start on “aspirin therapy.” And certainly, no reason to keep at it for most people anymore. In fact, recently released new guidelines will hopefully finally put an end to this dangerous myth once and for all.
But if you’re currently taking a daily aspirin, don’t just quit cold turkey. That could be dangerous. I’ll have all the details on the best way to ditch these pills in just a minute.
Expert panel REJECTS aspirin for heart protection
I’m sure some folks are shocked by the new guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that recommends AGAINST aspirin for most older Americans. I’m not one of them.
But I AM a bit disturbed. And I’ll explain why in just a moment.
The task force points out there’s little evidence that daily aspirin helps people over 60 avoid serious cardiovascular problems such as a heart attack or stroke. On the other hand, plenty of evidence shows that the risk for notorious side effects… especially internal bleeding in the gut and brain… only worsens with age.
So what’s my problem? Well, to put it simply, this ISN’T new. Not by a long shot.
The task force claims its guidelines are in response to “new” evidence. But the science has been clear for ages now. And the evidence includes many of the studies I’ve already shared with Healthier Talk readers over the years.
For example, a few years ago, researchers found aspirin cuts the risk of major cardiovascular events by 17 percent. That might sound like a reasonable reason to start popping those pills.
Well, that is until you see it could also raise the odds of gastrointestinal bleeding by 47 percent and bleeding in the skull by 34 percent. And suddenly, it becomes clear that taking a daily aspirin could cause more harm than good.
That’s a danger zone two to three times higher than any supposed benefit. So when a study published in 2018 found that aspirin users had a slightly higher overall risk of death, it was unsurprising.
Taking aspirin? Here’s your next step
As I mentioned earlier, if you’re on aspirin already, you shouldn’t just quit on your own.
First, you should talk to your doctor about these new guidelines and how they apply to you. There may be another reason he thinks you still need the drug.
And second, simply going cold turkey could be dangerous. Suddenly quitting aspirin can actually cause problems. It may increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. So, if it’s time to ditch the drug, work with your doctor on a safe way to wean off of it.
In addition, talk with your doctor about safer options that could give you the protection aspirin failed to deliver, including omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, and alpha-lipoic acid.
You might want to also ask about other meds you may not need while you are at. Take statins, for example. There’s zero evidence that these drugs deliver any survival benefit in most cases.
And in some situations, even certain blood pressure meds may not be necessary. See my earlier report, “Your ‘HIGH’ blood pressure could be a LIE,” for more details.
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