Has your doctor told you to take a low dose aspirin every day? Many of us are advised to add a simple “baby” aspirin to our daily diet in order to reduce the risk of heart disease and other problems. Can a simple and old fashioned remedy like a baby aspirin save our lives? Lets take a look at some of the amazing health benefits of aspirin.
Aspirin And Stroke Prevention:
The American Stroke Association tells visitors to their website that strokes affect the arteries in the body leading to or inside the brain. The third highest cause of death in the United States, strokes occur when these blood vessels either burst or become blocked, depriving the brain of oxygen and nutrients. Aspirin acts as an anticoagulant, which hinders blood clotting. Additionally prescribed by doctors for blood thinning, aspirin remains a valuable tool in stroke prevention.
Aspirin And Heart Attack:
Aspirin interferes with your blood’s clotting action. When you bleed, your blood’s clotting cells, called platelets, build up at the site of your wound. The platelets help form a plug that seals the opening in your blood vessel to stop bleeding.
But this clotting can also happen within the vessels that supply your heart with blood. If your blood vessels are already narrowed from atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries — a fatty deposit in your vessel lining can burst. Then, a blood clot can quickly form and block the artery. This prevents blood flow to the heart and causes a heart attack. Aspirin therapy reduces the clumping action of platelets — possibly preventing a heart attack.
Aspirin And Colon Polyps:
The National Cancer Institute reports that a daily dose of 81mg aspirin may reduce the risk of colon polyps by 19 percent. Colon polyps are precancerous growths in the colon, and may be early signs of colorectal cancer. While aspirin may be beneficial in preventing colorectal cancer, researchers are not ready to recommend it for daily use as a preventative measure. Instead, a patient who is at risk for developing colorectal cancer should schedule an appointment with his doctor to discuss the risks versus benefits of taking daily low dose aspirin.
Side Effects Of Aspirin Therapy:
- Stroke caused by a burst blood vessel. While daily aspirin can help prevent a clot-related stroke, it may increase your risk of a bleeding stroke (hemorrhagic stroke).
- Gastrointestinal bleeding. Daily aspirin use increases your risk of developing a stomach ulcer. And, if you have a bleeding ulcer or bleeding anywhere else in your gastrointestinal tract, taking aspirin will cause it to bleed more, perhaps to a life-threatening extent.
- Allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to aspirin, taking any amount of aspirin can trigger a serious allergic reaction.
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss. Too much aspirin (overdosing) can cause tinnitus and eventual hearing loss in some people.
If you’re taking aspirin and need a surgical procedure or dental work, be sure to tell the surgeon or dentist that you take daily aspirin and how much. Otherwise you risk excessive bleeding during surgery.
The Food and Drug Administration also warns that people who regularly take aspirin should limit the amount of alcohol they drink because of its additional blood-thinning effects and potential to upset your stomach. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
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