(NaturalHealth365) The next time that headache or painful muscle has you reaching for the bottle of pain reliever, stop. That seemingly harmless dose of Motrin, Aleve or Advil could be increasing your risk of deadly heart attack – a high price to pay in the quest to dull a headache.
Such pain relievers are part of a family of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. While considered “generally safe,” mountains of evidence shows frequent use of such medications could be contributing to an increased risk of heart attack.
Study links pain reliever to increased deaths from heart attack
For five years, researchers in Denmark followed the health of about 100,000 people who had suffered a first heart attack. During the course of the study, nearly half of them were prescribed an NSAID type of pain killer at least once. Results were published online in the journal Circulation.
The shocking results were that after just one year, those subjects who used an NSAID were 60 percent more likely to die during each year of the study, compared to those who did not. This is a relative increase when comparing the two groups of subjects – those who have used an NSAID and those who have not.
Looking at the findings in absolute terms, there were 20 deaths per 100 people during the first year among pain medication users compared to just 12 deaths per 100 people among the nonusers. During the fifth year, there were 9.5 deaths per 100 NSAID users and 6 deaths per 100 non-NSAID users. The study also found that those who took any NSAID pain reliever instead of aspirin increased their risk of having a second heart attack.
Be careful: Your pain medication can cause heart attacks
The NSAID diclofenac, sometimes more familiar under the trade name Cataflm, was linked to the largest increases in death and heart attack rates. Medications containing naproxen, such as Naprosyn and Aleve, appeared to have a slightly lower rate.
The Danish study is only the tip of the iceberg. Countless studies over recent years have that proven pain relievers spark a number of dangerous health conditions. For example, a 2013 study reviewed 600 trials and found high doses of NSAIDs increased the risk of heart attacks by one-third.
Taking ibuprofen was shown to more than double the likelihood of a coronary event. Even more concerning, a 2014 study found that deaths associated with strokes were 19 percent higher in patients who had been taking NSAIDs.
Controversial explanation for increased deaths
The Danish study, like those before it, did not yield a definitive explanation for what caused NSAIDs to increase the risk of cardiac problems for heart attack survivors. It is possible that patients taking NSAIDs are no longer following a recommended aspirin regimen and that this contributes to the increased risk.
It is also possible that the pain relievers are blocking the protective effects of aspirin, even when aspirin is still being taken. Aspirin is recommended for heart patients because it makes platelets less sticky and less likely to form blood clots, a major cause of heart attacks.
Safer alternatives for relieving pain
While it is likely advantageous for anyone to avoid frequent use of these pain relievers, it is especially important for those with heart disease. If you are a cardiac patient and want an over-the-counter pain relief, you may want to choose acetaminophen instead. Even so, do not exceed 3,250 mg per day to avoid liver damage.
But rather than risk a heart attack, a much better choice for minor pain relief is essential oils, specifically frankincense, wintergreen, peppermint, or lavender. In most cases, it will only take a few minutes after application to feel the pain lifted.
Other things to consider are: over exposure to EMF pollution, infections in the mouth, dehydration and food allergies. If you’re suffering with chronic pain – don’t ignore the signals and seek help from a trusted, holistic physician today.
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