July 10, 2021
I came across a new study yesterday from the University of Alberta saying researchers found common anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), can help treat the most harmful outcomes of covid-19. Most people infected with covid-19 recover without serious symptoms, but some develop inflammation in the lungs, causing coughing and shortness of breath. A few develop hyper inflammation that can lead to organ failure and death. That is especially true for men, people over the age of 60, and those with metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. Covid-19 interferes with a person’s natural immune response, causing them to produce inflammatory molecules rather than anti-inflammatory molecules. Drugs like aspirin can help reduce the inflammation. An aspirin a day!
When I looked online, I found that salicylic acid was first patented in 1890 and was cheaply produced as an effective inflammation reliever for rheumatoid arthritis. The problem was it had some unpleasant side effects (nausea, gastric discharge). Acetylsalicylic acid (or aspirin) was synthesized in 1897 by Felix Hoffmann at Bayer and was tested pharmacologically by Heinrich Dreser. Production of this new drug started in 1899. Aspirin was sold as the first pills ever in 1900 and became popular when the public realized it had fewer side effects compared with salicylic acid. Aspirin is the first medicine produced at industrial level and is still manufactured in high amounts today. An Aspirin a Day!
When I went in for my wellness visit last year, the doctor told me I should add a baby aspirin to the handful of vitamins I take every morning. While aspirin has been used as a pain reliever for more than 100 years, since the 1970’s it has also been used to prevent and manage heart disease and stroke. Studies say a low-dose aspirin each day for at least 10 years can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 10%. Aspirin helps the heart by easing inflammation. Plaque may be more likely to cause a heart attack or stroke if the heart is inflamed. Aspirin blocks an enzyme called cyclooxygenase, and that makes your body less likely to produce chemicals that can cause inflammation. It also helps prevent blood clots. I have only nine more years for it to take effect. An aspirin a day!
Thoughts: In High School I got extremely sick with a fever and body aches and called the emergency hotline. The nurse gave me what I thought was a dismissive response, “Take two aspirin, drink plenty of fluids, and if the fever persists, call me in the morning.” I did what she said, the fever broke, and I started feeling better. The Marx Brothers were a family comedy act successful in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in motion pictures from 1905 to 1949. I recall a sketch performed by Groucho where he played a doctor. No matter what the patient’s malady, his response was, “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” Given the recent discovery of this wonder drug, maybe Groucho was not too far wrong. About 80 billion aspirin tablets are taken a year for swelling and inflammation, as well as to help prevent heart attacks. There might be a good reason for a doctor to say, “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” With aspirin now being used against covid-19, there might be another. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.