Countless physicians have endorsed the idea of having an aspirin a day for decades now. But does today’s research support this theory?
CBS news reports that having an aspirin a day might not be such a good idea. New data shows that having an aspirin every day could lead to many health issues.
Why have many physicians endorsed having a daily aspirin? Numerous doctors find that having an aspirin every day could decrease the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and strokes.
What does this new study show?
A recent study shows that the possible benefits of taking the aspirin daily do not outweigh the possible risks, especially in women.
The paper was published on Thursday in the journal Heart. It is based on a randomized clinical trial that began more than two decades ago. The patients used in the study are forty-five years old and older. The study included around 28,000 women.
How was the study conducted?
“The women were either given 100 milligrams of aspirin every other day or a placebo. A decade and half later, the researchers found regular aspirin modestly reduce the risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease. In a 10-year period there were 604 cases of cardiovascular disease, 168 cases of bowel cancer and 1,832 cases of other cancers,” according to CBS.
But what were the downfalls of taking aspirin daily?
A large number of women in the study who took aspirin also suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding, a common side effect of long-term use. An accumulation of around 302 women in the study were hospitalized for severe gastrointestinal bleeding.
Dr. Agus, a CBS expert, commented on the study. He said that one of the most important points of the study is that medical treatment should be personalized based on the patient’s body an what would suit them. While having aspirin daily might not be a good option, if people are adamant about taking it then they should try coated aspirin. But whether or not coated aspirin is a good idea is not clearly known, as there has not been much research on it yet.
Some medical organizations have advocated for use of a maintenance drug. But now even they recommend more sensible steps be taken.
CBS reports, “The American Heart Association and American Cancer Society do not recommend aspirin for everyone with a increased risk for either or both diseases. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does recognize the benefits of maintenance aspirin for men age 45 to 79 and women age 55 to 79, but only after weighing the risk for gastrointestinal bleeding.”
A study published earlier this year found 75 to 80 milligrams of aspirin a day decreased the risk for bowel cancer by 35 percent and deaths from the disease by 40 percent. The risks of esophageal and stomach cancers are decreased by thirty percent.
How does aspirin supposedly work?
Aspirin works by halting inflammation, which more studies show is the main cause of heart disease and cancer.
“Inflammation -- it's like FEMA --is a big response element," Agus said. "But at the same time it can cause damage, and by tempering that damage with a low-dose aspirin everyday, we can significantly reduce disease,” according to CBS.
Despite these small, possible benefits most research now shows that taking aspirin every day is not the best idea. But most experts say that patients on this regime should talk to their doctors first before changing any treatment plan and adjust the plan according to the person’s body type.