Daily aspirin therapy: Understanding the benefits as well as the risks.
I recently came across this question. “Is an aspirin a day the right thing for me?” Wow, answering that question is not as easy as it sounds. There are benefits and risks that need to be explored before considering daily aspirin therapy. If you have had a heart attack or stroke, have a high risk of having you first heart attack, your doctor will likely recommend you take a daily aspirin after weighing the risks and benefits. Daily aspirin therapy isn’t for everyone so you shouldn’t start taking an aspirin a day on your own. Although taking an occasional aspirin or two is safe for most adults to use for headaches, body aches or fever, daily use of aspirin can have serious side effects, including internal bleeding.
Daily aspirin use also depletes vital nutrients from the body such as:
Folic acid (effects include abnormal cellular development of red blood cells, epithelial cells of the stomach, intestine, vagina and uterine cervix, hair loss, insomnia, increased infections, headaches, fatigue).
Iron (effects include, anemia, fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, and greater susceptibility to infection).
Potassium (effects include; irregular heartbeat, poor reflexes, fatigue, constipation, mental confusion and nervous disorders).
Sodium (effects include; memory loss, dehydration, loss of appetite, muscle weakness).
Vitamin C (effects include; muscle weakness, easy bruising, gums that bleed easily, tender swollen joints and muscle weakness).
Aspirin can prevent a heart attack by interfering with your blood’s clotting action. When you bleed, your blood’s clotting cells, called platelets, build up at the site of your wound and helps to 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 which prevents blood flow to the heart causing a heart attack. Aspirin therapy reduces the clumping action of platelets — possibly preventing a heart attack.
Should you take a daily aspirin? You shouldn’t start daily aspirin therapy on your own in an effort to prevent a heart attack. Your doctor may suggest daily aspirin therapy if:
1. You’ve had a heart attack or stroke
2. You’re a woman with diabetes older than 60 or a man with diabetes older than 50
3. You haven’t had a heart attack but you had a stent placed in a coronary artery, have had coronary bypass surgery or you have chest pain due to coronary artery disease (angina). Although aspirin has been recommended in the past for certain groups of people without a history of heart attack, there’s some disagreement among doctors about this approach. Guidelines are changing and have varied between organizations. The bottom line is that before taking a daily aspirin you should have a discussion with your doctor.
Before starting daily aspirin therapy under the advice of your doctor, you should let him or her know if you have a health condition that could increase your risk of bleeding or other complications. These conditions include: A bleeding or clotting disorder that causes you to bleed easily, an aspirin allergy which can include asthma caused by aspirin or a bleeding stomach ulcers should be discussed prior to taking aspirin on a daily basis.
What happens if you stop taking aspirin every day? You might be surprised to learn that stopping daily aspirin therapy can have a rebound effect that may increase your risk of heart attack. If you have had a heart attack or a stent placed in one or more of your heart arteries, stopping daily aspirin therapy can lead to a life-threatening heart attack. If you’ve been taking daily aspirin therapy and want to stop, it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes. Suddenly stopping daily aspirin therapy could have a rebound effect that may trigger blood clot.
Possible side effects and complications of taking aspirin include: Stroke caused by a burst blood vessel. Gastrointestinal bleeding, allergic reactions to aspirin, and tinnitus and hearing loss. 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.
Medications and herbal supplements also may increase your risk of bleeding. Medications that can interact with aspirin include: Heparin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) when taken regularly, Corticosteroids, antidepressants (clomidpramine, paroxetine, others). Taking some dietary supplements can also increase your bleeding risk. These include: Danshen, Dong Quai, evening primrose oil, ginkgo, policosanol and willow bark.
Whether you are taking an aspirin a day or not, to obtain wellness on a daily basis requires that you begin a real food nutrition supplementation program that focuses on supplying your body with vital nutrients to allow the body to build, defend and restore itself. It begins with:
- Glyconutrients that support cellular communication and the immune system.
- Naturally sourced Vitamins and standardized levels of Minerals for maximum absorption to nourish the body.
- Antioxidants (water & fat soluble) to protect your cells from oxidative stress (free radical damage).
- Endocrine System (hormonal) balance with a full array of plant derived raw materials that can regulate your cells and organs and support bone, breast, prostate and colon health.
Proper nutrition is ideal for a healthy body. The best way to fill this nutritional void is through natural, food-sourced complexes that are scientifically based.