By Jasminee Sahoye
An old wives tale says an Aspirin a day could ward off a heart attack. Recently, Bayer Inc. decided to find out whether Canadians are prepared for a heart attack.
An Ipsos Reid survey commissioned by Bayer reveals only 51% of Canadians 40 years and older agree they are prepared in the event of a heart attack.
This is despite the fact that 94% agree they are not too young to worry about having a heart attack.
Among the findings, Canadian women feel least prepared for a heart attack (49% say they feel prepared) when compared to other emergency situations, such as a house fire (66%) or power outage (86%). It was discovered that more people have candles, flashlights and dry foods for a blackout (92%) than a first-aid kit in the house (76%) or Aspirin in the medicine cabinet (62%).
“The vast majority of Canadians, over nine in 10, think heart attacks can happen at any time of day, in any setting. Canadians, however, believe they are most likely to occur during outdoor activities (84%),” the survey found. “Only half (51%) of Canadians 40-plus agree they are prepared in the event of a heart attack, yet 70% are prepared for a house fire, and 85% are prepared for a power outage / blackout.”
Despite many not being prepared, 73% of Canadians believe you should have Aspirin 81mg with you at all times so that you can take in the event of a heart attack after calling 911, the survey found.
“This is a significant development for Canadians. We’re thrilled that the potentially lifesaving role of Aspirin 81mg during heart attacks is now recognized,” says Elizabeth Beemer, vice-president and general manager of Bayer Consumer Care.
It’s estimated that one heart attack occurs every seven minutes in Canada or 70,000 heart attacks annually.
“With the prevalence of heart attacks among Canadians … this Canadian approval is a significant advancement to helping Canadians be prepared,” says Dr. Alan Bell, assistant professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto.
“While many Canadians 40-plus admit to worrying about having a heart attack, many simply don’t know what they can do to take action.”
Bayer Health Care says, “now that Aspirin 81mg is approved in Canada for emergency use during heart attacks, Canadians can take a small step that may help save their lives. The message is simple: Canadians should always keep Aspirin 81 on hand.
“Be prepared if you think you or someone around you is having a heart attack. Call 911 then crush or chew two Aspirin.”
Past research has linked long-term Aspirin use to adverse side effects, such as internal bleeding. But according to a new study, the benefits of longstanding Aspirin therapy outweigh such risks; it can significantly reduce the risk of major cancers of the digestive tract, including stomach, bowel and esophageal cancers.
The research team, led by Prof. Jack Cuzick, head of the Centre for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary University of London in the UK, recently published their findings in the journal Annals of Oncology.
Aspirin is commonly used to reduce minor aches and pains, inflammation and fever. In long-term low doses, the drug is also used as an antiplatelet for patients at high risk of heart attack and stroke.
Cuzick and his team conducted an analysis of all available evidence from an array of studies looking at the beneficial and harmful effects of Aspirin use.
The researchers estimated that if individuals aged 50-65 took a daily 75-100 mg dose of Aspirin for 5-10 years, the number of bowel cancer cases could be reduced by 35% and deaths by 40%, while rates of stomach and esophageal cancers could be cut by 30% and deaths by 35-50%.
Overall, they estimate that daily aspirin use for 5-10 years could provide a 9% reduction in the number of cancers, strokes and heart attacks in men and a 7% reduction in women.
Over a 20-year period, they estimate the number of deaths from all causes could be reduced by 4%. No benefits were found until individuals used Aspirin for a minimum of three years.