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Shaving mirror debate

4th April 2006

Well, doctor, I still can't decide whether I should be taking an aspirin every day, let alone a statin. What do you think? David Haslam asks himself as he looks in his shaving mirror.

If only life wasn't for living forward and understanding backwards, said Professor Haslam, this would all be so much easier. 'I would hate to reach the age of 100 having taken over 16,000 aspirins, without knowing that it was really necessary. And equally, or much more than equally, I would hate to snuff it in the next week, all for the sake of not having swallowed a kilogram of aspirin.'

It has long been stated that prevention is better than cure, but it rarely feels that way. How good do you feel about the patient whose conditions you have prevented? Something not happening is rarely a cause for celebration. Anyone in their right mind would always opt for the avoidance of a problem rather than subsequent treatment - which is why a health policy that focuses on health promotion and prevention must be better for the population - though it may feel infinitely less exciting – and only saves money in the future. “Does a potentially unnecessary daily aspirin cure or cause hypochondria?? he asks.

Professor David Haslam, The Practitioner

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