We live in an age of miracles. One is the miraculous drugs that are appearing on the market to treat everything from high cholesterol levels to low sexual performance. The second miracle is how anyone can afford to pay for them.
This high cost is spurring the drive to enact prescription drug legislation in Congress. This drive has stalled, partly due to new priorities after Sept. 11 and partly because the pharmaceutical industry has gathered its considerable lobbying thrust behind an effort to kill it.
Happily, a government report issued Tuesday indicated there's a cheap, over-the-counter pill available which could do as much to protect life as any miracle drug. What is it? Good ol' aspirin, of course.
It's been known for years that daily doses of aspirin can help prevent a second heart attack and fight chronic chest pain. More recently, it's been recommended to diabetics naturally prone to heart disease.
Now we learn that people merely at risk for heart disease should consider taking low doses of aspirin. This includes people who fall within one or all of the following risk factors: Overweight or obese; a man over 40; a post-menopausal woman; a smoker; a diabetic; high blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
In short, pay attention baby boomers -- this is about you.
A note of caution: There can be side effects to aspirin therapy, so consult your doctor before starting it. But for most of us, a daily tablet of low-dose, or "baby aspirin" could do a tremendous amount to prevent heart attacks. Who would have thought something as common, humble and available as a bottle of aspirin could have such life-saving potential?
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