Reader’s Question: I’m 64 years old and have a history of heart trouble (nothing too major yet). I’m thinking of starting a daily aspirin, but I know some doctors disagree about whether that’s a good idea. What do you think?
Dr. Glenn Rothfeld: My hat is off to anyone who takes the time to research aspirin therapy before beginning it. Because, believe it or not, lots of doctors and patients don’t.
Just think about it – we all get tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, and lots of other conditions before starting prescription drugs. Aspirin may be the one drug out there that doctors are recommending to millions of heart patients without doing any tests at all.
The idea behind aspirin therapy is to thin your blood to prevent clots. But that’s not really the end of the story. Some people are especially sensitive to aspirin and it can cause gastrointestinal bleeding.
Plus the jury is still out on whether people who have never had a heart attack will benefit.
If you live in the US, you can take a simple urine test that will tell you if taking aspirin will have any benefit for you. The test is called AspirinWorks and will even tell you what dose is appropriate (that’s another area where too many docs shoot from the hip). And if you need your blood thinned and are wary of aspirin, there are supplements like white willow bark that are worth trying.
Unfortunately, this test is not yet available in the UK. Hopefully, UK patients won’t have to wait too long before they can access it, because Dr. Paul A.J. Ames, Consultant in Haemostasis at
St. George’s Hospital in London, believes it could have a significant impact on the health of hundreds of thousands of UK patients.
As always, keep sending me your questions at email@example.comWishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing