How to Survive Heart Attacks, Strokes and Other Effects of Embolisms
Aspirin is effective in inhibiting the formation of blood clots and it is reasonably safe for most adults. Nevertheless, it can have serious side effects and as with other drugs should only be taken when there is a need to do so. Taking aspirin every day as a preventive for heart attacks is probably counterproductive unless there are at least some specific symptoms to suggest its use. Various agencies have recommended aspirin usage by everyone, even healthy young adults, on a daily basis but eventually that proposal will probably prove shortsighted and be quietly withdrawn. Daily usage will probably be found to cause more harm than good among the healthy population. The lifesaving effect found in the studies probably comes from their excessively narrow focus. Even in the original reports there was mention that the saving of lives from heart attacks was largely offset by an increase in the number of deaths due to ‘bleeding’ strokes—which is a relatively rare cause of death. Other forms of death were not even addressed such as those caused by bleeding after injuries. Of the thousands of people who die of automobile accidents a very large percentage bleed to death. That number of deaths would surely be greatly increased if all the millions of people involved in automotive accidents, that are now nonfatal, were taking aspirin and therefore bleeding more readily.
Those persons suffering from angina, (chest pain caused by the heart muscle being starved of blood even during mild exercise), do have a clear benefit from the use of aspirin and therefore it is to be recommended for them. Nevertheless, with no indicating symptoms, especially for a person under the age of fifty the negative side effects of various bleeding problems probably outweigh the beneficial effects of a daily dosage of aspirin. Evolution has had a half billion years to adjust the blood clotting qualities to be at their optimum for reproducing animals, (to produce viable offspring). However, after reproductive age, fifty or so for us humans, that process is no longer very operative and we are on our own.
With the sudden blockage of a major heart vessel, by a blood clot, there is usually an intense choking upper chest pain, up into the jaw and down the left arm, which is usually associated with sweating and nausea. When this condition occurs the person’s life will soon be over unless the blockage can be removed. Aspirin is effective in helping to accomplish this. If the afflicted portion of the heart is not badly blocked or some collateral blood is still flowing the clot may eventually be dissolved. Timing is critical with blood clots. Frequently, the clot is small enough that there are only partial blockages to the affected organ and the person does not die immediately. In this condition being rushed to the hospital may save the person’s life. If only part of the heart is deprived of blood it can keep beating and thus supply the body and the heart itself with some blood. But if the blocked portion remains without blood for three to seven hours it will die. It depends on how deprived the portion is. Since the tissue of the heart that is no longer being supplied with blood may get numb it will stop hurting as badly and the victim will insist that he is feeling better. Some victims are reported to resist aid offered them and sometimes die convinced they are getting better.
Once in the emergency room the victim may be given streptokinase, or something similar and asprin to dissolve the clot. However, even under the best of conditions it takes a while for the clot to dissolve. But, first before the victim even starts to go to the emergency room, he must realize he is having a heart attack and this is a difficult problem—most people do not want to admit that it could happen to them and in addition it will cost them money, lots of money. So they resist calling for help. Then come the delays involved with phoning 911, delays in an ambulance arriving, delays in goint to a distant hospital, delays after arrival at the emergency room, because it is sometimes understaffed, delays in filling out the paper work for insurance, delays while waiting for the doctor to care for other patients and delays while they run tests. If all of this time the heart is being deprived of blood ... and it and its owner are closer to being dead.
It may be almost impossible to get the victim to call for help, however, persuading them to take a couple of aspirin, for the relief of the pain, at the beginning of this unpleasant episode should be easy. By chewing or by dissolving two crushed aspirin in a glass of warm water and drinking it immediately it will start giving clot inhibiting action within five minutes. That is there will be a diminution of the clot forming ability of the blood and there may be some natural positive dissolving of the clot taking place even before the ambulance arrives. Aspirin and streptokinase, a clot dissolver that may be administered at the hospital, are synergistic in their clot dissolving effects. However, a minimum of a half hour will likely pass before a doctor can administer streptokinase as compared to a few seconds for self administered aspirin. Some studies have shown that asprin alone may be as good as streptokinase alone but together they are much better than either taken singly especially in the critical first few hours.
Therefore, always carry two aspirin and a Benadryl ®, a safe, over the counter, antihistimine and vasodilator, with you. For men this is easily done by wrapping the tablets in plastic and putting them in a cornor of your wallet. When you have a chest pain or a sudden weakness or other sudden inexplicable bodily malfunctions take them immediately, chew them up and get your body to the emergency clinic. Thank me tomorrow—if you are still alive. While you are at it take a few of your prescription pills and push them into a plastic straw, tape over the ends and put them in your wallet.
A warning! Aspirin is a powerful drug and may save your life during a heart attack but it is also a poison. It can kill you or more likely your child. As few as 12 standard aspirin tablets are the lethal dose for a 65-pound child. That is, only 150 mg/kg is deadly. Therefore, keeping your aspirin childproofed is essential. Also people under the age of 21 should not be given aspirin for fevers as it may lead to Reyes syndrome and death. It is easily replaced for these uses with ibuprofen.
2007/06/24 - There has been a report on the Scientific American web site of substantial improvement in frostbite victims' recovery by the use of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The effects of tPA seem to be similar to those of aspirin, so there is a possibility that taking aspirin immediately, while still being exposed to having frostbite, or within a few hours after exposure, will help with blood flow to the extremities and reduce the need for amputations. Here is yet another reason to always carry your aspirin with you wherever you go.
Liability disclaimer statement: These Probaways contain new and unique information that has been created, tested and retested by me alone. You must approach these findings and materials very carefully as your results may differ greatly from my experience and I can offer no recompensation of any kind for any injuries.