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What Are the Benefits of Daily Low Dose Aspirin?

by
author image Jacques Courseault
As a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician I have extensive experience in musculoskeletal/neurological medicine that will benefit the network.
What Are the Benefits of Daily Low Dose Aspirin?
Aspirin can be beneficial in people who have a history of heart attacks. Photo Credit pixelperfectstock/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Nonprescription low dose aspirin is commonly used to reduce fever, headaches, arthritis and cold symptoms. According to Medline Plus, of the National Institutes of Health, low dose aspirin is also used to prevent heart attacks in people who have a history of a heart attack or angina, a form of chest pain related to blocked heart arteries. Aspirin works by reducing chemical signals that cause fever, pain, swelling and blood clots. Therefore, daily low dose aspirin may offer benefits to human health.

Heart Attack Prevention

A daily 81mg dose of aspirin may reduce the risk of heart attack in patients who have previously had a heart attack or are at high risk of having one, states MayoClinic.com. Aspirin is effective in preventing heart attacks because it interferes with the blood’s clotting action. Normally, blood clots when blood vessels are damaged, but can occur is blood vessels are narrowed by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. Fat builds up in the blood vessels and causes damage. Blood flowing through the vessel clots in response to vessel damage and can block blood flow to the heart. Thus, taking aspirin will prevent clot formation and will continue to allow blood to flow to the heart if a vessel is damaged. A patient should not begin aspirin therapy without first speaking with a doctor.

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Stroke Prevention

MayoClinic.com states that an 81mg dose of aspirin can prevent strokes in people who have previously experienced an ischemic stroke, or are at high risk of having one. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot, while a hemorrhagic stroke involved excessive bleeding in the brain. Low dose aspirin prevents clot formation around vessels in the brain damaged from fatty deposits. Aspirin should not be taken if the patient has a history of an ischemic stroke, because this could increase the risk of bleeding in the brain. Thus, patients with a history of a stroke should ask the doctor if a daily low dose aspirin is beneficial before starting.

Reduced Risk of Colon Polyps

The National Cancer Institute reports that a daily dose of 81mg aspirin may reduce the risk of colon polyps by 19 percent. Colon polyps are precancerous growths in the colon, and may be early signs of colorectal cancer. While aspirin may be beneficial in preventing colorectal cancer, researchers are not ready to recommend it for daily use as a preventative measure. Instead, a patient who is at risk for developing colorectal cancer should schedule an appointment with his doctor to discuss the risks versus benefits of taking daily low dose aspirin.

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