For years physicians have recommended taking a daily low dosage of aspirin—it can prevent heart attacks and strokes as well as lower the risk of developing certain cancers, according to health experts. In fact, statistics show that most took that advice— in 2005 (the latest figures available), a whopping 43 million of U.S. adults over the age of 40 took a daily aspirin dose in the hopes of reaping aspirin's health benefits. But while “aspirin therapy” can prevent some from developing cardiovascular diseases, it can actually be harmful to others, even more so than originally anticipated.
Interesting New Research Findings
New research suggests that the negative implications of aspirin therapy may actually outweigh its benefits all together, especially for those who have never experienced a heart attack or stroke before.
These conclusions were stemmed from a team of London researchers who analyzed a series of studies that evaluated aspirin therapy in different parts of the world, including the United States, Europe and Japan. What they discovered was that while those who took daily doses of aspirin were in fact 20% less likely to have a non-fatal heart attack, they were also 30 % more likely to experience abdominal bleeding and ulcers, an already noted side effect of constant aspirin use. They also discovered that taking aspirin as a cancer-reducer was basically a lost cause—not enough evidence could show that it did anything to lower one's chances of getting cancer.
While internal bleeding is a serious and scary side effect, researchers try to argue that this is more likely to occur in people who use aspirin therapy but never had any sort of heart complications before. Whereas those who use aspirin therapy because they've already experienced a heart attack or stroke in the past and were worried about it happening again were actually more likely to reap the benefits rather than experience any negative side effects. Some individuals were even able to lower their risk of having a reoccurance of heart attack by as much as 30%, according to researchers. But in either case, precaution still should be taken.
So should you take the risk of participating in aspirin therapy?
Things you should consider first:
- Do not assume that because it's cheap and sold over the counter it can't be deadly.
- Do not start an aspirin therapy regime without consulting your doctor first. He or she will be able to recommend a dosage and tell you whether he or she thinks if you even need it.
- Realize that your physician may be out of date with their information as well.
- Understand that the effectiveness of aspirin varies from case to case.