Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk
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Heart disease of coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of death both in the UK and worldwide. Heart disease is caused by the blood supply being blocked or slowed by a build-up of fatty tissues in the arteries. One of the most common pain relievers in the world could be contributing to life-threatening condition says new study.
Researchers with the European Society of Cardiology found that taking aspirin raises a person’s risk of heart failure among those with at least one pre-existing health risk.
These include smoking, being obese, having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease.
While some studies find regularly taking aspirin can help protect against illnesses including COVID-19 and cancer, others find it can actually do more harm than good particularly for the heart.
In the study, a total of 31,000 people over the age of 40 were included.
Researchers found that aspirin users had a 26 percent higher risk of heart failure.
All participants were free of heart failure at the start of the study with the team recording each person’s use of aspirin separating them into two groups, namely users and non-users.
Researchers followed up with the participants (who had an average age of 67) over a five-year period.
After accounting for influential factors like gender, weight, age, alcohol use, the use of medications, and various measures of health, the team concluded that aspirin independently contributes to increasing heart failure risk by more than a quarter among people with pre-existing health issues.
Overall, 7,698 participants were taking aspirin and 1,330 developed heart failure over the next 5.3 years.
“This is the first study to report that among individuals with a least one risk factor for heart failure, those taking aspirin were more likely to subsequently develop the condition than those not using the medication,” said study author Dr Blerim Mujaj of the University of Freiburg in a media release.
He added: “Large multi-national trials in adults at risk of heart failure are needed to verify these results.
“Aspirin is commonly used – in our study one in four participants were taking the medication.
“In this population, aspirin use was associated with incident heart failure, independent of other risk factors.”
He added: “Large multinational trails in adults at risk of heart failure are needed to verify these results.
“Until then, our observations suggest that aspirin should be prescribed with caution in those with heart failure or with risk factors for the condition.”
Early signs of heart failure include:
- Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back.
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