Aspirin: How the benefit gets reversed with age

What doctors have believed to be beneficial over the years in their bid to lower the risk of stroke and heart failure among hypertensives, could be taking a different turn as patients grow older.

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) as effective as every other NSAIDs, except it has the potential to suppresses the normal functioning of platelets.

Besides its long-term use to help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots in individuals at higher risk, Aspirin has also been used to treat pain, fever, or inflammation (such as; Kawasaki disease, pericarditis, and rheumatic fever).

According to World Health Organization , the drug is best absorbed orally. Aspirin given shortly after a heart attack decreases the risk of death.  It may also decrease the risk of colorectal cancer.

In low-doses it could prevent pre-eclampsia in women at high risk of developing the condition, however, WHO states it should be avoided during the last three (3) months of pregnancy, because of its harmful effects.




Some Known Side-Effects of Aspirin

Though widely and affordably available as over-the-counter prescription drugs, Aspirin has a number of adverse effects capable of out weighing its initial purpose. See your doctor immediately, should you have any of these side effects.

People who take aspirin may experience some side effects including:

  • Fever.
  • Face, lips, tongue, or throat swelling.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Heartburn.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Headache.
  • Ringing in your ears.
  • Confusion.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Rapid  or  Difficult breathing.
  • Seizure.
  • Severe Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Bloody or tarry stools.
  • Coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.




The New Guidelines

A new guideline released by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), says daily intake of aspirin poses more harm in the elderly over 70 years of age.

The ACC now recommends that doctors only recommend aspirin to those who are at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease and the lowest risk of bleeding, according to a statement. For everyone else, doctors should continue to advise their patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle: don’t smoke, eat a balanced diet, and engage in physical exercise regularly.

According to Roger Blumenthal, co-chair of the new ACC/AHA guidelines,“Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease,

“It’s much more important to optimize lifestyle habits and control blood pressure and cholesterol as opposed to recommending aspirin.”

We live in a world where things change rapidly, and so do guidelines. And though this new guide may not apply to you, however, it is now important to see your doctor before taking Aspirin for reasons of cardiovascular diseases or others.




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