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Don't count on red wine, aspirin to cure all your health woes
If you take a low-dose aspirin and a little red wine every day in hopes of avoiding a heart attack, you may be in for a disappointment.
Check with your doctor before changing your habits, of course, but you may want to check out a couple of new studies.
One of them is another of those “study of studies” that have been making the news so often in recent years.
According to Max Griswold of the University of Washington, no amount of alcohol is safe.
Griswold led a team that took data from nearly 700 previous studies to estimate the prevalence of alcohol in different countries.
Romanian men, by the way, were the heaviest drinkers, downing the equivalent of 8.2 bottles of beer a day in 2016. Muslim countries drank the least.
The researchers concluded that drinking alcoholic beverages is linked with some 2.8 million deaths each year, nearly 1 in 10 deaths in people ages 15-49 around the world, the leading risk factor for people of that age. The most common causes of death were tuberculosis, road injuries and self-harm. Older than 50, and cancer is the leading alcohol-related cause of death.
Yes, they concluded, alcohol does offer some protection against coronary-artery disease in women, but “the strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries and infectious diseases” offset that benefit.
An earlier study found some reduction in heart attacks among drinkers but concluded that alcohol use increased the risk of premature death from several other ailments.
Like the alcohol studies, another study published recently in the Lancet medical journal found that while low-dose aspirin can have health benefits, they disappear when you’re less than svelte, weighing more than 154 pounds.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends taking a low-dose aspirin regularly if you’re between 50 and 69 to prevent heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer.
The latest study showed that people between 110 and 154 pounds who took an 81 mg baby aspirin were found to have about a 23 percent lower risk for heart attack, stroke or another major cardiovascular event.
Above 154 pounds, however, they didn’t receive the same benefit. Researchers considered boosting the dost to 325 mb., but that level of aspirin has been linked to excessive bleeding in some people.
What should we conclude?
“Aspirin should be considered for anyone who has already suffered a heart attack or stroke not caused by hemorrhage, as well as middle-aged men and women at increased risk of cardiovascular disease based on heart disease risk factors,” said Dr. Michael Miller of the Maryland School of Medicine.
Again, check with your healthcare provider before making any major changes in your lifestyle.
But good diet, regular exercise and moderation in everything is a safe bet.