Every day, millions of people use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—over-the counter painkillers that can relieve headaches, muscle pains and other types of soreness that follow strenuous activities.
NSAIDs have been in practical use for decades. This class of drugs includes products that you just might have in your medicine cabinet at this very minute, like ibuprofen, celecoxib, diclofenac and naproxen.
What most people do not know is that these pain relievers could trigger heart attacks or strokes, especially in old people.
A team of doctors in the United States found that there have been more cases of second heart attacks and strokes from patients who used NSAIDs regularly. Even relatively healthy people are no exception to having risks for heart attacks when using such painkillers.
These drugs have also been linked with cases of stomach bleeding and kidney failure. The pain might go away, but it could also mean you are preparing to go away as well … to a better place.
American and Danish medical researchers have reported that NSAID users develop an increased risk of a dangerous heart condition called “atrial fibrillation” (irregular heartbeat). The risk was found to be higher among older patients and people who have chronic kidney problems.
Researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine found that older patients who were longtime regular users of NSAID drugs had a 50 percent higher chance of heart attack, stroke or even death.
Some doctors who are aware of this problem recommend acetaminophen as an alternative to their patients, believing that it may have a much lower risk of heart complications than other NSAIDs.
Still, many doctors believe they cannot control their patients’ pain without these painkillers. There are scarcely any alternatives to these drugs.
Ironically, accessibility makes NSAIDs even more of a threat. People need to become educated regarding the risks they take when they ingest such drugs regularly.
Particularly susceptible to undesirable side effects are geriatrics that depend on these medications heavily. They could easily cause instant death, especially when the drugs are taken in extremely high doses.
Awareness and further studies are needed to help us better understand how to use NSAIDs properly. Killing the pain is one thing; killing the pained is another.
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