Can aspirin really keep health problems from happening?
Yes, aspirin can keep some people from getting sick in a few different ways.
Aspirin can help keep people from having another heart attack or stroke, for example, if they have already had one. Studies also show that people who have never had a heart attack or any kind of heart or blood vessel disease might be able to avoid having one if they take aspirin.
Also, aspirin may help prevent some types of cancer. Cancer of the colon or rectum is the kind of cancer that aspirin seems to help the most.
Can aspirin hurt your health?
Yes, aspirin has a downside. It can cause serious bleeding inside the body. Most of the time, aspirin makes the stomach or intestines bleed. But bleeding can also happen in the brain and other parts of the body.
Not everyone has the same chance of bleeding while taking aspirin. Some people are more likely to get hurt than others.
When taking aspirin, you are more prone to bleed if you:
- Have ulcers in your stomach or intestines (called peptic ulcers)
- Are 65 years old or older
- Taking high doses Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen
- Use corticosteroids, which come in the form of pills or injections. It doesn’t matter if you put these medicines on your skin as a cream or a lotion.
- Take medicines that are called “anticoagulants” or “blood thinners,” such as: Warfarin, Dabigatran, Apixaban, etc.
How does taking aspirin keep you from getting sick?
Aspirin can help keep heart or blood vessel problems from happening because it keeps blood from clotting. When blood clots form in the arteries, it can cause a heart attack or a stroke. Aspirin prevents this from happening. Experts don’t know why aspirin might help with cancer, but the results of some studies suggest that it does.
How much aspirin will keep me safe?
Experts say that 75, 80, or 100 milligrams a day is the best dose to avoid health problems. People often refer to this as “low-dose” aspirin. It is much less than the 325 milligram dose in an aspirin pill, which is used to treat pain or fever.
How long should I take an aspirin?
People who want to avoid heart attacks or cancer by taking aspirin have to do so for a long time. Aspirin starts working almost as soon as you take it to keep your blood from clotting. That means it can protect you right away from heart attacks, but the protection goes away if you stop taking it. It will be a few years before aspirin can stop cancer.
Should I take aspirin to keep from getting sick?
You and your doctor will have to decide what to do. You can take the following steps:
- Ask your doctor or nurse if taking aspirin might help you.
- Ask if taking aspirin would make you more likely to bleed.
- Depending on how you answer, work with your doctor or nurse to make the best decision for you.
- If you’ve already had a heart attack, your doctor or nurse will help you make a different choice.
After you’ve thought about how the risks and benefits apply to you, work with your health care provider to make the best decision for you.