Health Benefits of Aspirin

Aspirin's greatest benefit is reducing cardiovascular events including heart attacks and strokes.

According to a study supported by the CDC, being published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, doctors should do more to promote aspirin use and discourage smoking because those measures, along with childhood vaccines, are the most efficient means to prevent disease in the U.S. About 95 percent of spending on health care in the nation goes to treat diseases, said David Satcher, a former surgeon general.

Aspirin is more likely to do good than cause harm. At a low dose, undesirable effects are unusual and seldom serious, and probably 90 to 95% of the adult population could take low dose aspirin without problems.

Aspirin appears to increase the activity of the ovaries, allowing them to release multiple eggs during ovulation. It also appears to increase blood flow to the uterus, allowing for a thicker and healthier uterine lining. Women who had experienced multiple miscarriages and who were undergoing IVF treatment were given low doses of aspirin daily. Subsequent pregnancy rates were then compared to pregnancy rates produced by women who received no aspirin therapy. More than 45% of those women taking aspirin during treatment became pregnant, while only 28% of those women not taking aspirin were able to conceive.

Each person, not a doctor should evaluate risks and benefits. A heart attack or stroke has serious physical and medical effects on the family, work colleagues and friends. Most older people know this from experience and many will dread a vascular event [a stroke or heart attack].

There is growing evidence to suggest regular aspirin use may reduce cancer and dementia as well.

Regular Use of Aspirin Will Reduce or Prevent:

  • Adult Leukemia (50% Reduction)

  • Alzheimer�s Disease (50% Reduction)

  • Angina

  • Blindness with Diabetes

  • Bowel Cancer (40% Reduction)

  • Breast Cancer

  • Cardiovascular Disease

  • Cataracts

  • Colon Cancer (40% Reduction)

  • Colon Polyps

  • Dementia (50% Reduction)

  • Esophageal Cancer

  • Head Aches

  • Heart Attacks

  • Infections

  • Infertility

  • Lung Cancer

  • Migraines

  • Mini Stroke

  • Miscarriages

  • Pancreatic Cancer

  • Periodontal Gum Disease

  • Preeclampsia

  • Prostate Cancer

  • Rectal Cancer

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Stomach Cancer

  • Strokes

  • TIA Transient Ischemic Attack

A Duke University study suggests aspirin significantly reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack or death due to cardiovascular disease in men and women. The Duke Medical Center meta-analysis of more than 95,000 patients found that the risk reduction differed between the sexes.

For men, aspirin lowered the risk of a heart attack, while in women aspirin reduced the risk of a stroke.

Among women, aspirin therapy reduced ischemic stroke, which is caused by blood clots, by 24 percent.

In the group of men studied, taking aspirin caused a 32 percent drop in heart attacks.

The older you are, the more important it is to take aspirin on a regular basis: Take one 81mg "baby aspirin" everyday or one 325mg tablet every other day or at least 3 times a week. If you buy generic 325mg aspirin tablets in a large bottle, and take one every other day, the cost will be about $2 a year.

Do not give aspirin to under 16-year-olds. The British Medicines Control Agency advises that this is because it's been shown to be linked to a rare, but potentially fatal, condition called Reye's Syndrome which affects the brain and liver.

In your 20s, take baby aspirin daily if you have problems with infertility, migraines, miscarriages and preeclampsia. If pregnant, do not take past your first trimester (90 days) without consulting your doctor.

By your mid 30s, it is wise to take aspirin if you wish to prevent cancer, heart attacks, strokes or if you have insulin dependent diabetes or periodontal gum disease.

By your mid 40s, it is wise to take aspirin on a regular basis for all the above reasons, plus for the prevention of colon cancer, prostate cancer, dementia, alzheimers disease and cataracts.

Investigators from the Women's Health Study have reported important new findings demonstrating that aspirin reduces the risk of a first stroke in women.

The study showed a 17% reduction in the risk of a first stroke, and a 24% reduction in the risk of an ischemic stroke. This finding is particularly important to women, as each year about 40,000 more women than men suffer a stroke.

The Women's Health Study (WHS) found that aspirin offered the greatest benefit in women 65 and older, reducing all major cardiovascular events including heart attack (MI) and ischemic stroke. However, in the total population, which comprised a significant number of younger women (ages 45-55), low-dose aspirin did not demonstrate a significant benefit in preventing first heart attack or cardiovascular death.

Aspirin is currently approved by the FDA for reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and death in both women and men who have experienced a previous heart attack or stroke, as well as reducing the risk of mortality in patients with a suspected acute MI.

"The Women's Heath Study is the first large trial to demonstrate a significant benefit of aspirin in the primary prevention of stroke, reinforcing what we know of its efficacy from secondary prevention trials," said Dr Julie Buring, principal investigator of the WHS.

"Although not widely recognized, women tend to suffer more strokes than heart attacks as compared to men, and thus these prevention data for low-dose aspirin have important public health implications," she added.

Additionally, the WHS further supports aspirin's favorable benefit/risk profile. In fact, while there was a small increase in risk of overall gastrointestinal (GI) bleeds associated with aspirin use, there were no significant differences between aspirin and placebo in risk of stomach upset, fatal GI bleeds or hemorrhagic stroke.

Do not take aspirin if you have 3 or more alcoholic beverages a day, stomach ulcers or bleeding. Do not take two weeks prior to surgery or dental extractions. Discontinue if you get nausea or an upset stomach and see your physician.

Americans safely consume 50 million aspirin tablets everyday - 15 billion a year. World-wide, 100 billion tablets a year are consumed. Americans swallow the tablets whole, the British prefer the aspirin dissolved, Italians prefer them fizzy, and the French prefer their aspirin as suppositories.

Men who regularly took aspirin had a 15 per cent lower risk of developing prostate cancer than non-users, and those who took two or more pills a day had 20 per cent less risk.

Many studies suggest that aspirin can prevent colon cancer, but tests of it against hormone-fuelled cancers such as breast and prostate have been mixed.

The study involved 30,000 men aged 55 to 74 in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, a US National Cancer Institute funded experiment at 10 US sites.

When given to someone immediately after a heart attack, aspirin decreases death by 25%.

Heart disease is the Number 1 killer of all American women and men, but a recent study shows it seems to be even deadlier if you're an African-American woman.

The American Heart Association study indicates that not only are black women with heart disease more likely to die, they are also being seriously undertreated compared with white women. Black men also have higher rates of prostate cancer.

Nearly 2,700 women with heart disease were followed for four years. The findings showed African-American women are twice as likely to have heart attacks or die from the disease because they tend to have more serious heart disease. They are also less likely to take aspirin or cholesterol-lowering medicine to prevent heart attacks.

Aspirin worked as well as a prescription drug that costs 10 times as much for prevention of recurring strokes in blacks, according to a recent study. This study has been described in detail in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

March 1999 was the 100th anniversary of the patenting of aspirin, the 20th century wonder drug whose uses now go far beyond the simple headache cure. Along the way it has entered works of literature, introduced us to moving pictures and was taken into space. Now its future becomes more secure everyday.

The message that aspirin should be used more widely is not new, noted Steve Weisman, PhD, head of global health care products at Innovative Science Solutions in Morristown, N.J. "But it doesn't get the attention it deserves." Dr. Weisman discussed the survey findings at a Feb. 16 session of the ACPM's Preventive Medicine 2005 conference held in Washington.

In five large randomized trials, aspirin was found to reduce total coronary heart disease by about 28%, he said. "It's pretty clear there are benefits for reducing myocardial events."

Aspirin reduces total coronary heart disease by 28%. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force three years ago found sufficient evidence for aspirin's benefit to urge physicians to discuss aspirin therapy with the appropriate patients.

The American Heart Assn. also recommends aspirin for most patients who have had a heart attack, unstable angina, ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attacks.

And new research presented at the Second International Conference on Women, Heart Disease and Stroke reinforced the survey results by finding fewer than half of women with cardiovascular disease use aspirin.

Researchers examined data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, which tracked nearly 100,000 post-menopausal women, singling out nearly 9,000 who had cardiovascular disease and should be taking aspirin along with other medications. They found that only 4,101 (46%) of the women with cardiovascular disease were on low-dose aspirin therapy and, among the 2,230 with documented heart attacks, only 54% reported using aspirin.

"Ideally, the percentage of women with a known history of cardiovascular disease who take aspirin should be above 90," said lead author Jeffrey S. Berger, MD, chief resident at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

Patients taking Coumadin to prevent a stroke might be better off taking common aspirin, new research suggests. In a study of 569 stroke patients with narrowing of brain arteries, those on Coumadin suffered a higher death rate than those who took aspirin. The study was published in a March 2005 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The lead author of the study, Emory University neurologist Marc Chimowitz, cautioned that patients should check with their physician before they stop taking Coumadin or add aspirin to their daily regimen. In the study, patients who had previously suffered a stroke because of fatty deposits in their arteries were randomly given either Coumadin (warfarin) or high doses of aspirin.

During the follow-up, about one in five patients died from circulatory problems, had another stroke or suffered a brain hemorrhage regardless of which drug they took. But those taking Coumadin were more likely to die. Nearly 10 percent of the Coumadin patients died, compared with four percent of those who took aspirin.

The patients who took Coumadin also had a higher risk of major bleeding, heart attack or sudden death, the researchers said. The aspirin dosage used in the study -- 1,300 milligrams per day -- is higher than generally recommended for heart attack and stroke prevention. It was used because previous studies indicated it was an effective dose for this particular condition. It's not clear whether other doses would work as well.

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