Many will take over-the-counter painkillers to relieve symptoms, including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. But new research adds to earlier evidence that these common painkillers – known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs – can have dangerous side effects, particularly for patients with some form of heart disease.
Arthritis medication actually increases the risk of a heart attack.
In seeking out ways to deal with the pain of arthritis, patients could be opening the door to a host of unintended side effects, including increased risk of ulcers, heart attack and high blood pressure. A new study gathered all research to date related to NSAIDs and found that these common arthritis remedies are especially risky for heart patients.
The study was carried out in collaboration with 14 European universities and hospitals, including a number of providers considered to be Europe’s leading heart specialists. Published in the European Heart Journal, the study results also show that many of the medications that have been in use and trusted for decades are actually as dangerous to the heart as versions that have already been removed from the market. Research shows these medications are associated with increased risk of a heart attack.
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Study warning about the dangers of NSAIDs
NSAIDs are available both as over-the-counter medications as well as by prescription. They are commonly recommended or prescribed to treat an array of diseases, including disorders of the muscular and bone system, where the drug is somewhat effective in reducing swelling, pain and restricted movement associated with inflammation.
For a number of years, it was known that newer types of NSAIDs – referred to as COX-2 inhibitors – could increase the risk of heart attacks. According to the study’s authors, this revelation had led to the removal of these newer NSAIDs from the marketplace. But their review of all related available research found that older types of NSAIDs are also associated with an increased risk of heart attack, most to the same extent as those medications already removed from the market. The researchers noted that many of these older types of medications are commonly used, often without a prescription.
A safe alternative to risky pain medications
The study’s authors urge that doctors prescribing NSAIDs carry out individual assessments for risk of bleeding and heart complications, based on a patient’s health history and heart condition. They also noted that NSAIDs should only be sold without a prescription with adequate warning labels spelling out the increased cardiovascular risks. They recommend against the use of NSAIDs in patients who have or are at risk for cardiovascular disease.
But you can avoid the risks of NSAIDs all together by approaching pain management naturally. There are several alternatives available to help alleviate the aches and pains of arthritis and other conditions, without increasing the risk of deadly side effects. Here are just a few of the effective ways to deal with pain while avoiding medications:
• Nettle leaves and roots have been valued for centuries as an herbal remedy for arthritis, urinary tract infections and edema. Scientific research now finds that nettles act by suppressing production of inflammatory chemicals in the body, impacting the transmission of pain signals.
• In addition to stinging nettle, other effective herbal remedies include turmeric, ginger, garlic and burdock root. These have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, detoxification, immune support, and protection from free radicals.
• Emu oil has been used for centuries by Aboriginal people for skin and joint disorders and disease, including arthritis. The practice is backed by scientific studies that found emu oil to have anti-inflammatory properties comparable to ibuprofen.
• Supplements such as vitamins A, C, D, and E, curcumin, and omega-3 fish oils, help to strengthen your joints, reduce inflammation, and combat the oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
• Eliminate inflammatory food from your diet, including sugar, alcohol and trans fats, all of which can lead to severe levels of inflammation. Instead, try to introduce healing foods, including healthy saturated fats. If you consume animal products, limit them to grass-fed only. Other foods to incorporate include pasture-raised eggs and organic virgin coconut oil.