Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are used to treat a number of conditions; most commonly for muscular and skeletal pain resulting from inflammation.
You might not think twice about taking an âAdvilâ or âMotrinââand you sure wonât question your safety if youâve been prescribed a painkiller by your doctorâbut are painkillers as safe as you think they are?
Study Shows How Dangerous Aspirin Can Be
But a new study shows that NSAIDs can be quite dangerous for some people, especially for those who have experienced heart failure, heart attacks, or other cardiovascular troubles.
This should be especially concerning for those suffering from arthritis and taking prescription drugs for treatment. Newer types of NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors have been made largely unavailable because they increase heart attack risk, but researchers have never really looked at how the older ones might be doing the same thing. Whatâs scary is that these older drugs are still in use.
Most people you know have taken NSAIDs at some point in their lives, and the frequency only increases with age. About 60% of the adult population in Denmark takes at least one prescription NSAID in a 10-year period, and most Western countries have far higher rates of use than the Danes. And people who are high-risk take them, too.
The study was conducted by 14 European universities and hospitals, including a number of leading heart specialists in Europe. Theyâve concluded that doctors need to stop prescribing NSAIDs with such freedom, make their decision based on the personal requirements of each patient, and never give them to a person who is at a high risk for cardiovascular disease or who already has it.
Over-the-Counter Doesnât Mean Safe
So what about the aspirin youâve been taking once a day? Just because something is bought over-the-counter doesnât mean itâs safe. If youâre taking a daily aspirinâwhich is an NSAIDâtalk to your doctor. Unless youâve been given instructions to do so, taking it could do more harm than good.
When inflammation flares up it can be quite easyâand appealingâto reach for the pill bottle. But the best way to fight inflammation is by preventing it in the first place. You can limit your need for medication by increasing physical activity and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. These lifestyle choices can fight back against the pain and discomfort of inflammation, without posing the same kinds of risks to your heart.
Sources for Todayâs Article:
Elder, R. S., et al., âThe crunch effect: Food sound salience as a consumption monitoring cue,â Food Quality and Preference, 2016; doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2016.02.015.
Mammoser, G., âWhy You Shouldnât Eat Dinner While Watching TV,â Vice Food web site, March 21, 2016; https://munchies.vice.com/en/articles/why-you-shouldnt-eat-dinner-while-watching-tv?utm_source=vicefbca, last accessed March 22, 2016.