Doctors across the country recommend aspirin as a daily regimen to reduce the risk of heart attacks. But what they are neglecting to tell their patients in their zeal is that aspirin could do far more damage than good. The medication could even increase your risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For the study, researchers followed thousands of individuals since 1988, all between the ages of 43 and 86. Each participant had a check up every 5 years, undergoing eye examinations and being checked for other influencers of eye disease such as high blood pressure, alcohol use, and diabetes. They were also asked to bring medications they were taking. The study found that routine aspirin use doubled the risk of developing neovascular macular degeneration, the most severe form of the disease.
The findings are similar to that of a past study published in the journal Ophthalmology, which found that frequent aspirin use is associated with a dramatically increased risk of macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in older adults. The study published in Ophthalmology concluded with:
“Frequent aspirin use was associated with early AMD and wet late AMD, and the ORs rose with increasing frequency of consumption. This interesting observation warrants further evaluation of the associations between aspirin use and AMD.”
Between the two, these studies estimated regular aspirin use could double the risk of this vision-related disease. While the New York Times suggests this risk isn’t enough to outweigh the “benefits” of an aspirin regimen, we believe they are overlooking several other risk factors associated with aspirin.
Other Risks of Aspirin Use
The use of aspirin as a preventative treatment only really arose when drugs like ibuprofen and acetaminophen came to take over the pain relief market. So what was once an occasional pain reliever has now become a part of many people’s daily lives.
Risks and side effects associated with long term aspirin use include:
- Internal bleeding including intestinal bleeding due to stomach ulcers and other digestive disturbances.
- Crohn’s Disease
- Reye’s Syndrome– Common in children with viral infections, causes organ damage and death.
- Tinnitus and hearing loss.
- Increased risk of hemorrhagic brain stroke.
Interestingly, aspirin is derived from a natural substance, but like so many pharmaceutical solutions, it’s been perverted beyond recognition. It comes from white willow bark, a pain relieving plant without all the dangerous side effects. The fake-white willow bark is called ASA or acetylsalicylic acid; the pharmaceutical company Bayer trademarked it as Aspirin in 1889. Here it is well over 120 years later and people are still popping it like candy.
The take-away from all of these studies is this: aspirin is not as safe as touted, and despite what Big Pharma and their hired hands would have you think, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks—especially not when you can reap similar if not better benefits naturally through diet and exercise.
For pain and inflammation, try things like ginger and turmeric in your diet, and stretching and massage in your lifestyle. You could also check out these 6 foods and herbs for inflammatory-related pain. For heart benefits without the aspirin, change your diet. Plain and simple.