I was browsing the internet looking for something fun to write about today. I was on Dr. Dan Murphy’s website and looking through some material I found a nice article on aspirin use. He quotes excerpts from a 1994 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. A main point he highlights is “those who took 105 – 365 acetaminophen pills per year had a 40%increased risk of end-stage renal disease compared to those who took 2 –104 acetaminophen pills per year. For some, the risk of end-stage renaldisease was as great as a 140% increased risk.” Here is another shocking excerpt, “For those who took more than 1000 pills containing acetaminophen intheir lifetime (compared to those who took fewer than 1000acetaminophen–containing tablets), their increased risk of end-stage renaldisease was 100%. For some, the increased risk of end-stage renaldisease was as high as 220%.” This is potential dangerous news for those who take an aspirin a day. But the real question is, why? Why does taking aspirin cause any sort of renal dysfunction?
Ok, here is my best attempt at explain this complex issue without truly knowing the answer. It has long been know that aspirin kills enzymes. If you use aspirin and it is destroying your enzyme systems so you can no longer digest food properly this is going to be a major problem. Because blood is made up primary of protein substrate an inability to properly digestion protein would come at a grave concern. The reason this is a problem is proper protein in the blood will regulate osmotic pressure. This pressure gradient is important for proper kidney function. If it is not you end up with kidney problems.
I was trying to think of a better way to break this down, but am currently having an inspiration block to think of a creative way to explain this. I think I got it. Ok, have you seen pictures of Hoover Dam? If not, here is a picture.
Ok, now look at the picture closely. They use this dam to generate electricity by passing water through a generator. Think of the water as your blood and the generator as your plasma proteins. The proteins help clean the blood and make the kidney function properly. So Hoover dam is one big kidney. The generators are the protein and the water is blood, crap, everything else. Now, if the generators stop, ie the protein is diminished, the water will back up. Eventually the water will get to high and overflow the top of the dam. That is how our kidneys work. If we cannot properly clean the blood pretty soon there is to much crap to clean and everything comes out, including the blood!
Ok, so by now I think I lost my main point. Oh yeah, it is if you are eating aspirin like a food group your chances of kidney disease goes up dramatically. I explained why and hopefully it makes sense. If not, write me a comment and I’ll try and break it down better.