Many people have used aspirin for fevers, headaches, and other aching pains over the years. However, you might be surprised to know that some people take the medicine on a daily basis, and many do so because of a doctor’s recommendation. While aspirin does hold a few risks, these daily users view them as low risks compared to the health problems aspirin could prevent. Simply put, aspirin does provide several life-saving health benefits.
One surprising health benefit of aspirin is a reduced risk for cancer. Specifically, one study noticed that people who took daily low-dose aspirin reduced their risk of breast cancer.
One researcher, Christina Clarke from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, analyzed data from a continuing study of teaching professionals in California. The study began in 1995 with over 100,000 teachers and education professionals participating.
In the past few decades, the study sent out several surveys questioning participants about their use of medications and their health history. Out of the 57,000 people who responded, many of them had developed breast cancer between the surveys.
According to the researchers, those who took low-dose aspirin had a 16 percent reduced risk of getting the breast cancer. Experts explain that the risk is associated with aspirin’s anti-inflammatory effects and its function as an aromatase inhibitor. Doctors often use aromatase inhibitors for breast cancers that are hormone-receptor positive.
In everyday terms, aspirin prevents one of the most common types of breast cancer from forming. You should understand, though, that research in this area is limited, yet promising.
One of the biggest reasons that many people take low-dose aspirin every day is to lower their risk of heart disease. In fact, doctors will often recommend the medication if a person has already experienced a heart attack or stroke.
For healthy adults, many people will see a reduced risk as well. One study showed that men with a moderate risk for a heart attack reduced their risk by 32 percent with low-dose aspirin.
However, women did not see a lowered risk for a heart attack within this study. Instead, they reduced their risk of stroke by 17 percent.
Overall, doctors and health organizations agree that people who are trying to prevent a secondary heart attack or stroke should use low-dose aspirin. Still, you should always work with your doctor when coming up with a prevention plan.
Should You Take Low-Dose Aspirin?
If you haven’t yet had a heart attack or stroke, you might be wondering if taking aspirin would help you. According to the research, it just might.
However, you should not make the choice blindly. Taking aspirin has led to gastrointestinal issues in some people and increases your risk of bleeding, both internally and externally. To make the best decision, you should assess your risk of getting heart disease or cancer and go from there.
For example, if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or a smoking habit, you might have an increased risk for heart disease. In the case of cancer, doctors probably will not yet prescribe aspirin for prevention, but you can stay aware of the current research on the topic.
Either way, you should talk with your doctor about the benefits of aspirin in your situation.
Currently, using low-dose aspirin to prevent major health problems like heart disease and cancer has shown promising results. The aspirin has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and also thins out the blood, helping the heart perform its job well. On the other hand, aspirin does carry several risks, including gastrointestinal issues. In the end, consult your doctor about the decision, and make the choice best suited to your situation.