Aspirin Can Prevent Heart Attack

May 28, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. panel / ˈpæn l / [PAN-l] (n.) – a group of people whose purpose is to discuss, deliberate, and decide about something
Example: The panel that checked the medicine’s usefulness was composed of doctors.

2. recommendation / ˌrɛk ə mɛnˈdeɪ ʃən / (n.) – advice that encourages someone to use or do something
Example: My grandmother drinks orange juice regularly upon the recommendation of her doctor.

3. further / ˈfɜr ðər / (adv.) – to a greater extent or length
Example: The doctor further explained the risks of the operation.

4. outweigh / ˌaʊtˈweɪ / (v.) – to have greater weight (e.g. significance, influence, importance) than something else  
Example: The advantages of regular exercise outweigh its inconveniences.

5. override / ˌoʊ vərˈraɪd / (v.) – to prove that something is no longer valid
Example: New findings about the drug continue to override past beliefs about it.


Read the text below.
An aspirin a day may help keep heart attacks away, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

The USPSTF is a panel of US physicians whose task is to review the effectiveness of medication for certain diseases and to release recommendations based on its findings. The panel said that the daily intake of low-dose aspirin for ten years can help adults aged 50 to 59 avoid a heart attack. The recommendation further states that these adults must have at least a 10% risk of getting a heart attack and no risk of bleeding in the stomach and intestines.

On the other hand, the panel advises people who are 60 to 69 years old to consult a physician before taking aspirin daily to make sure that the benefits of the medication would not be outweighed by its possible risks.

Aspirin, which is a common pain reliever and fever medicine, has a blood-thinning feature that lets it reduce blood clots. Blood clots, which block the blood vessels to the heart, can cause a heart attack. Despite its positive effect on reducing blood clots, aspirin may cause internal bleeding to worsen. Therefore, daily use of aspirin is not recommended to those who have a history of stomach ulcer and other bleeding disorders.

The USPSTF suggests that aspirin may be used to prevent the first instance of a heart attack, overriding a recommendation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014 that says otherwise. The FDA’s recommendation stated that people who have never had a heart attack are not advised to take aspirin daily.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is the importance of constantly reviewing the effectiveness of certain medications?
·         What important precautions should people observe before taking any medicine?

Discussion B

·         What are the possible dangers of relying only on medication to avoid getting a heart attack?
·         In what ways can people avoid heart disease? Enumerate.

May 28, 2016