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When you get a headache, do you instinctively reach for an aspirin? If so, you’re like millions of other people who are using aspirin on a daily basis. But what you need to know is that aspirin may not be as safe for use as you might think across every age group or population.
3,000 Deaths Per Year
That’s right, according to a study from Oxford University, people over the age of 75 are TEN TIMES more likely to suffer fatal or disabling bleeds when they take aspirin on a regular basis. This is due to the fact that aspirin thins out the blood and prevents the production of platelets. Previous research has indicated that aspirin is more likely to cause bleeds in the gastrointestinal tract, but this recent study pointed to bleeds on the cardiovascular system.
Let’s get one thing clear: experts agree that aspirin can and does help to prevent heart attacks. By thinning the blood, aspirin reduces the risk of clots. Doctors believe that aspirin is an excellent treatment to decrease the risk of serious cardiovascular events.
However, the above-mentioned study did suggest that another medication could be included, a proton-pump inhibitor that can reduce the risk of serious bleeds in the GI and cardiovascular tract by as much as 90%. This is especially important among senior citizens, as they are the ones most at risk for bleeds as a result of their aspirin intake.
Side Effects of Daily Aspirin Intake
According to the MayoClinic, there are three primary complications that result from daily aspirin therapy (either for a heart condition or for other non-prescribed uses). These complications include:
- Allergic reaction. While not common, there are those who prove allergic to the salicylic acid in the aspirin. The allergic reaction can range from mild to life-threatening.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding. Daily consumption of salicylic acid increases the risk of ulcers forming in your stomach. Existing ulcers may also be worsened by the aspirin, and could begin to bleed in your GI tract. In some cases, this amount of bleeding can be life-threatening.
- Stroke. Daily aspirin therapy is used to prevent blood clot-related strokes, but it can cause a stroke caused by excess bleeding in the brain. This is the result of a burst blood vessel that bleeds profusely. The blood thinning properties of aspirin is what causes a hemorrhagic stroke, which can be as fatal as an ischemic or clot-related stroke.
As you can see, there are very real dangers of taking aspirin on a daily basis!
Negative Drug Interactions
Another warning from the MayoClinic is related to taking aspirin while using other medications. Anticoagulants like warfarin or apixaban can cause major bleeding when combined with aspirin, which can be life-threatening.
Aspirin can interact negatively with Ibuprofen, corticosteroids, Heparin, Clopidogrel, and a number of antidepressants.
If you’re taking natural supplements like bilberry, cat’s claw, gingko, Omega-3s, evening primrose oil, and danshen, they can all interact negatively with aspirin, leading to potentially serious complications.
More Dangers of Aspirin
While the above-mentioned dangers of daily aspirin therapy are the most commonly known and widely-accepted, they aren’t the only ones out there. According to a number of studies, aspirin can also lead to problems like:
- Gastric ulcers
- Hearing loss in both men and women
- Cerebral bleeding
- Higher influenza mortality rates
- Ulcerative colitis, peptic ulcer bleeds, and higher small bowel injuries
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons you need to be cautious with your use of aspirin. While it’s recommended as an anti-clotting medication that can reduce your risk of strokes, it may also be causing some of your other health problems. If you aren’t careful, those problems can become serious or even fatal!
Natural Alternatives to Aspirin
If you want to enjoy the benefits of aspirin without the drawbacks, it may be a good idea to go the natural route (always consult with your doctor before changing your medication!)! There are a number of alternatives to try, including:
- Anti-inflammatory fruits, veggies, and berries, which can decrease swelling in your body.
- Ginger, which can reduce blood clots and decrease inflammation.
- Turmeric, which has been proven more effective than anticoagulants and painkillers.
- MSM, or Methylsulfonylmethane, an adaptogen herb that can speed up post-injury or post-surgery recovery and decrease pain.
- Cinnamon, which can decrease risk factors for heart disease and improve circulation.
- Magnesium, which reduces your risk of hypertension and helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.
- Bromelain, an enzyme that can decrease inflammation and pain.
These natural alternatives will be much safer than aspirin, and they can be a better way to receive the treatment you need for a healthy heart and body!
I hope you found this information useful,
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.