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The Risks and Benefits of Using Aspirin

Heart disease is the top cause of death among Americans. It’s a serious concern, and the likelihood of cardiovascular events increases and intensifies with age. Taking the right preventative measures is essential.

In 2019, 29 million people over 40 took a daily low dose of aspirin (under 100 milligrams) to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Aspirin, an anticoagulant, keeps blood clots from forming. Heart attacks and strokes are both caused by blood clots – strokes by a clot blocking blood flow to the brain and heart attacks by a clot blocking blood flow to the heart. A daily dosage of aspirin can lower the risk of both events in someone with coronary heart disease or peripheral artery disease, or for people who have already had a stroke or heart attack.

Doctors have traditionally recommended aspirin as a reliable blood thinner. Some people take it daily even if it’s never been medically advised. However, the health risks posed by a regular dosage could outweigh the benefits.

Because aspirin thins the blood, it can cause bleeding in the brain, stomach, or digestive tract. People with bleeding or clotting disorders that cause easy bleeding shouldn’t independently begin taking a daily dose of aspirin. It also can interact negatively with blood-thinning prescription medications and even some herbal supplements like evening primrose, garlic, gingko biloba, danshen, and saw palmetto.

Drinking alcohol while taking aspirin can also increase the risk for stomach bleeding. If someone is a heavy drinker or struggling in their relationship with alcohol, a daily dose of aspirin may not be the right choice.

Only a doctor or healthcare provider can evaluate a patient’s health situation and make the correct recommendation about aspirin as a preventative measure. It’s important to talk to  your provider about any medication before beginning a regimen, even if it’s easily available over the counter. 

The providers at Roseman Medical Group can help patients make the best decisions for their health. Make an appointment at (702) 463-4040.

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