Heart attack, one of the cardiovascular diseases, is among the primary death-related health concerns in the United States leading to around 30 percent of total deaths (Mainous et al. 1). The trend is nearly the same across the developing and the most developed countries. However, the most troubling issue is the fact that the World Health Organization warns that there is no possibility of reducing the severity of the problem up to 2020.
When controlling the epidemic, significant attention is paid to preventative measures. One of them is taking small doses of aspirin daily. It is widely used by people belonging to the group of high cardiovascular risk because of its proven protective impact on the heart (Jin 814). The benefits of aspirin for the prevention of heart attacks were first described by John Vane, the British pharmacologist, in 1971. The primary idea is that aspirin prevents the synthesis of prostaglandins because of the “irreversible inhibition of the platelet-dependent enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX)” (Dai and Ge 1). According to the subsequent studies, the antithrombotic effect of the medication is related to suppressing “platelet aggregation without affecting important endothelial cell functions” (Ittaman, WanWormer, and Rezkalla 147).
Aspirin was used for minimizing the risks of heart disease long before the detailed theory developed by Vane. In the 1950s, Dr. Craven working as a general practitioner prescribed aspirin to male patients in order to prevent heart attacks. However, because he could not prove the effectiveness of this method due to the lack of statistics and resources for conducting the research, his work remained unnoticed (Miner and Hoffhines 182).
Nowadays, aspirin is widely prescribed for managing the epidemic of heart attacks. Even though there are several potential complications related to the prolonged intake of the medication such as the risk of intracranial or gastrointestinal bleeding, its significance in the prevention of heart diseases cannot be underestimated. Numerous studies prove that the drug is effective for diminishing the risks of the first as well as subsequent instances of heart diseases (Luepker et al. 4; Ittaman, WanWormer, and Rezkalla 148; Mainous et al. 3-4). Around 50 percent of elderly patients take aspirin to prevent heart attacks (Luepker et al. 6). The only challenge is to determine the correct dose and follow the regimen taking it daily. Still, if the prescriptions are fulfilled, aspirin helps avoid up to 2,5 percent of total deaths caused by secondary heart attacks (Ittaman, WanWormer, and Rezkalla 148).
There are several reasons pointing to the importance of studying the effectiveness of aspirin for the prevention of secondary heart attacks. First of all, it is vital to find out whether there are any risk groups, who are not recommended to take aspirin due to their condition of health. Moreover, it is necessary to investigate the statistics of aspirin intake and preventing heart disease in order to highlight its significance in addressing public health issues. Finally, it is paramount to find whether there is a link between the discovery of taking aspirin and the rate of deaths caused by heart attacks.
The hypothesis of the paper is the following: even though there is the risk of complications pertaining to the continuous intake of aspirin, determining the correct dose and regimen of aspirin is one of the most effective measures for minimizing the risks of secondary heart attack and decreasing the mortality rate.
Dai, Yuxiang, and Junbo Ge. “Clinical Use of Aspirin in Treatment and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.” Thrombosis 2012 (2012): 1-7. Hindawi. Web.
Ittaman, Sunitha, Jeffrey J. WanWormer, and Shereif H. Rezkalla. “The Role of Aspirin in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.” Clinical Medicine and Research 12.3-4 (2014): 147-154. Print.
Jin, Jill. “Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs.” JAMA Medicine 314.10 (2015): 813-814. JAMA Network. Web.
Luepker, Russel, Lyn M. Steffen, Sue Duval, Nicole D. Zantek, Xia Zhou, and Alan T. Hirsch. “Preventive Cardiology: Population Trends in Aspirin Use for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention 1980–2009: The Minnesota Heart Survey.” Journal of the American Heart Association 3 (2014): 1-7. AhaJournals. Web.
Mainous, Arch, Rebecca J. Tanner, Ronald I. Shorr, and Marian C. Limacher. “Preventive Cardiology: The Use of Aspirin for Primary and Secondary Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in the United States, 2011–2012.” Journal of the American Heart Association 3 (2014): 1-9. AhaJournals. Web.
Miner, Jonathan, and Adam Hoffhines. “The Discovery of Aspirin’s Antithrombotic Effects.” Texas Heart Institute Journal 34.2 (2007): 179-186. Print.