Aspirin is one of the most carefully studied drugs available and has been used to reduce pain and inflammation for over a century. Evidence is rapidly growing that supports aspirin's use in lowering the rates of heart attacks, stroke, colon cancer and even Alzheimer's disease.
Living up to its reputation as a lifesaving drug, aspirin's action as a blood thinner has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the rate of heart attacks, strokes and related deaths. This can be credited to aspirin's ability to prevent blood from clotting, thereby preventing these events. In the event a heart attack or stroke does occur, taken immediately, aspirin can reduce their severity. Some preliminary data even suggests that regular aspirin use may prevent certain cancers from occurring.
Beyond benefits to the cardio vascular system, there are many other little known applications for a daily aspirin regimen, and they could be life saving. Here are a few facts about aspirin that support its use for the prevention of common ailments and health risks:
Benefits of aspirin
- Aspirin officially has a place in the Smithsonian Institute and is a mainstay in just about every family's medicine cabinet and first aid kit.
- A recent study suggests as many as one percent of air travelers suffer from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) due to prolonged sitting during long flights. It's been suggested that a low-dose aspirin taken before traveling any distance longer than four hours can reduce the potential for DVT.
- The National Heart Foundation reports that patients who took low-dose aspirin had a 26% reduction in the risk of a nonfatal heart attack, 25% reduction in the risk of stroke and 13% reduction in the risk of death compared to similar patients who didn't take aspirin.
- A daily low-dose aspirin therapy is commonly prescribed to adults to prevent heart attack and stroke and help improve blood flow to the heart.
- Small daily doses of aspirin have proven to be effective in reducing the chances of mini-strokes (in which clogged blood vessels prevent sufficient oxygen from reaching the brain).
- Aspirin is also used to reduce the risk of heart attack in people with clogged coronary arteries, and in those who've already had an attack.
- The latest advancement in aspirin involves a no-swallow tablet that dissolves through the mouth, thus reducing the risk of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Aspirin may reduce the risk of heart disease in individuals with diabetes.
- Approximately 36% of the adult US population - more than 50 million people - are estimated to take aspirin regularly for heart disease prevention.
- Aspirin prevents heart attacks and strokes by blocking platelets from forming blood clots. Its anti-inflammatory properties may also play a role in preventing cancer.
- Studies find that aspirin taken during a heart attack reduces the risk of death by 23%.
- Evidence is rapidly growing that shows aspirin can slow the progression of colon cancer, and preliminary data suggests that regular aspirin use may prevent certain cancers from occurring at all.
- Population-based studies report that an aspirin a day will either slow the progression or even prevent dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease.
- There is some evidence that aspirin may increase gall bladder motility and thus be effective in treating gall bladder disease.
- An Australian study suggests that aspirin may guard against severe periodontal disease by protecting the fibers and ligaments around the teeth.
If you're over the age of 65 or at risk for some of the above mentioned health problems, a daily aspirin regimen could be life saving. However, the risks associated with the regular use of over the counter aspirin products mustn't be overlooked. In some cases, large doses of aspirin typically found in over the counter aspirin products can cause stomach discomfort or gastrointestinal bleeding. For this reason, a low dose, fast absorbing aspirin product is recommended.
Characteristics to look for in a fast absorbing, low dose aspirin
Look for a product that dissolves in the mouth instead of the stomach. This allows the aspirin to enter the blood stream within three to five minutes versus the 30 minutes to an hour for regular aspirin, quickly inhibiting platelet aggregation (blood thinning).
- An acceptable dosage for ‘low dose' aspirin is about 81 milligrams.
- Look for a sugar free product that can be safely used by diabetics.
Easy open packaging. (Can be beneficial for travel or emergency use.)
- 50% of regular low dose aspirin users do not receive noteworthy blood thinning benefits. Make sure your product claims exceptional anti-clotting cardio protection.
No wonder mature adults find a low dose aspirin regimen the answer to their concerns about the potential for heart attack and stroke. Aspirin, "the anchor drug" in medicine cabinets, now has taken a giant step forward in meeting the needs of an increasingly mobile mature market.
NOTE - Aspirin should not be taken on a daily basis without first discussing it with your health care provider.
By Tom Klamet
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