Aspirin is a staple over-the-counter drug. It can ease almost any pain you have within a matter of 30 minutes, and many people swear by it. I always have it in my bag with me just in case, because it can be so helpful when a random ache or sore muscles strike. In fact, according to Dr. Oz, 29 million people take aspirin on a daily basis. That’s a lot of people. But recent studies are answering a question that has been popping up lately: Is it bad to take aspirin every day?
According to the Alcohol and Drugs Foundation, otherwise known as ADF, aspirin is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and can be used to treat mild to moderate pain, fever, and swelling, among other things. It also is said to help prevent blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, and bowel cancer. For decades, Dr. Oz has even recommended that people take aspirin to help prevent heart attacks, but some new evidence is convincing enough to prove that, while aspirin may very useful in some ways, like helping prevent pancreatic cancer, it might not always be the answer. The Dr. Oz Show correspondent, Dr. David Agus, MD Oncologist, explained why doctors are now changing their advice about aspirin intake, and how to find out if taking a daily aspirin is right for you.
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What are the Risks of Taking Aspirin Daily?
Dr. Agus says that one of the most recently discovered downsides of taking aspirin daily is that it can cause certain people to bleed too much since it is a blood thinner. This means that something as simple as a paper cut or a cut from shaving could cause you to lose too much blood. Aspirin works to prevent your blood from clotting, which is typically a good thing — however, Dr. Agus says that you actually need your blood to clot. For example: If you cut your finger, you need your blood to clot so that you bleed less out of the wound, and aspirin makes your blood thinner, therefore causing you to bleed more. Taking aspirin too often can also decrease the protective lining in your stomach, Agus says. This could lead to a stomach ulcer, as the acid in your stomach could start to erode the inside lining without that protective layer
Ultimately, Agus recommends that people who have never had a heart attack, people without any risk factors of having one, or those over age 70 who also have not had a heart attack probably shouldn’t start taking aspirin, based on the new guidelines.
How to Know If You Should Be Taking a Daily Aspirin
While taking a daily aspirin could have negative effects on some people, Agus says it could also be beneficial for those who are at risk for different diseases. He says that if you are a patient who is at risk for a heart attack or has suffered from a heart attack in the past, daily aspirin consumption is fine as long as it is recommended by your doctor. In fact, Agus says that a person between the ages of 40 and 70 and are at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol has a 25 percent lower risk of having a heart attack while taking aspirin. Additionally, if you have a family history of heart disease, you should consider taking aspirin. Want another reason? Aspirin was also proven to reduce the risk of colon and pancreatic cancer by 50 percent, says Agus.
Bottom line? Agus thinks that, given the data, aspirin can be very beneficial to prevent heart disease and even death from pancreatic or colon cancer. The main point to take away, though, is that you should not consume aspirin on a daily basis without consulting your doctor about it first because ultimately, they know best.