Based on the Physicians Health Study, which divided over 22,000 doctors into two groups, half the doctors took an aspirin every other day, the other portion took a placebo. Neither group was asked to make any kind of lifestyle change. They could continue their normal lifestyle and diet. After five years of follow-up, the group that took the aspirin had 44% fewer, non-fatal heart attacks than the placebo group. You may have currently seen an ad of hopefully a real person sharing their story of a heart attack never expecting such an occurrence, but now they’re happy to report they’re taking an aspirin every day. For ethical reasons, the Physician’s Health Study was stopped prematurely. News was made and it seemed that everyone should start taking aspirin. However, researchers looked at the results of the study and their report revealed that while aspirin did reduce the incidence of heart attacks, it increased the risk of hemorrhagic strokes, otherwise known as bleeding into the brain. The 11,000 doctors that took aspirin had over twice the incidence of moderate to severe hemorrhagic strokes when compared with the placebo group. Also the incident of sudden cardiac death was almost twice as high in the aspirin group, and the incident of gastric and duodenal ulcers was almost twice as high in the aspirin treated group, although the group taking aspirin had fewer heart attacks overall, there was no difference between the two groups in number of deaths resulting from heart disease or from all causes of death. The study known as the British Doctor’s Trial compares very similarly to the results of the Physician’s Health Study.
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