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Taking Aspirin May Not Be Beneficial For Everyone

By HERWriter
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Aspirin May Not Be Beneficial For Everyone Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

Aspirin is one of those medications that people take, thinking it will help reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke. For some, it may provide some protection. However, for others, it may not reduce their risk, and may instead lead to other potentially serious medical problems.

A study that reviewed over 68,000 records showed that “more than 1 in 10 patients in this national registry were receiving inappropriate aspirin therapy for primary prevention.” This was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Aspirin can be a useful drug as it prevents the formation of blood clots. For those who have had a heart attack or stroke, the risk of having another may be reduced by taking low-dose aspirin, HealthDay News reported.

The problem is that any benefits of taking low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, which doctors call primary prevention, are not as straightforward.

"Aspirin is not a medication that comes without risks," said Dr. Ravi Hira, the lead researcher on the study and a cardiologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

He went on to explain that aspirin can cause hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain) or serious gastrointestinal bleeding. People who have had a history of stomach ulcers have up to three times the risk of a gastric bleed than those without that history.

Hira also stated that the idea of protecting the heart by simply taking a pill might appeal to some people.

"It's probably easier to take a pill than to change your lifestyle," Hira pointed out.

The study showed that women and younger patients were more likely to be using aspirin inappropriately than men and seniors.

It was also not clear in the study whether people who had taken aspirin were doing so under the direction of their doctor. Aspirin is readily available without a prescription.

So how do you know if you should take low-dose aspirin?

First, don’t just start taking aspirin on your own. You should work with your doctor to determine if taking aspirin has a benefit that outweighs the risk.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.