Research has found that aspirin can help people who are at risk for heart disease. People have started aspirin therapy on their own because of this research. If you’re one of these people, you need to know these five reasons you should not be taking it.
#1: It’s a Preventative for Low Risk Individuals
According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, one in 10 patients were found to be taking aspirin inappropriately. Aspirin therapy is recommended as a primary prevention, which reduces the risk of a first heart attack or stroke. Those who are at risk for heart attack or stroke because of previous one or other factors should not take aspirin, as it does not reduce the risk of dying from subsequent episodes.
#2: Users Need a Cardiovascular Risk Assessment
Anyone interested in starting aspirin therapy should seek an assessment from their doctor. When speaking to your doctor, be sure he is not using the Framingham Risk Score, as it is outdated. Your doctor should look at risk factor and perform a simple, safe, but effective test. Most experts believe the best way to assess heart attack risk is with a CT scan. This shows coronary calcium in the heart, or atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries. A calcium score should show how much you have inside the arteries, which then provides a reasonable prediction of a heart attack or stroke.
#3: Gastrointestinal Bleeding Is Possible
A study in Heart finds the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding increases with age. Aspirin therapy can further increase the risk, especially in women. This means that the risk of aspirin therapy far outweigh the risks of it.
Usually, men are only prescribe a daily aspirin regimen when their calcium score is high and they have other risk factors for heart attack or stroke. It is taken with caution though, especially those over the age of 65.
#4: Risk of Cerebral Hemorrhage
Aspirin has been linked to cerebral hemorrhage. Even the smallest dose of 81 milligrams can increase the risk of this devastating medical condition. Knowing the symptoms of cerebral hemorrhage can save your life:
- Severe headache
- Weakness in the extremities
- Nausea or vomiting
- Decreased alertness
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficult time swallowing
- Loss of fine motor skills
- Problems with coordination
- Abnormal sense of taste
- Falling or feeling unstable when standing
#5: Possible Drug Interactions
Aspirin should not be mixed with other drugs that treat certain medical conditions. For example, when aspirin is taken with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, the effects of the drugs may be reduced or eliminated. When aspirin is taken with anticoagulant therapies such as Heparin and Warfarin, the risk of bleeding is extremely high.
You should always speak to your doctor whenever you start taking a new medication while on aspirin therapy. It’s important you know the risks of taking both of them.
Other Important Information to Consider
If you’re generally healthy, but have a high risk of heart disease, aspirin therapy may be best for you. The only person who can tell you that you should start a daily aspirin regimen is your doctor, after he has given you a thorough examination and assessment for heart disease.
When you begin your aspirin therapy, be sure to let your doctor know of any side effects. This can help prevent any bleeding conditions that could result from taking the aspirin.
Never take more aspirin as recommended by your physician. If you suffer from another medical condition, such as a headache, check with your doctor before you increase your dose. It may be possible to take another pain reliever with the daily aspirin without increasing your risk of other medical conditions.
If you’re concerned about taking aspirin, there are many other ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. Healthy eating and exercise are the first steps. You should also work on your stress levels to keep them as low as possible. You may want to consider supplements such as Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 and fish oil. Garlic and green tea have been found to lower the risk of heart disease too.
Take care of yourself as best as you can each and every day, and follow the advice of your doctor. Heart disease is a risk, but you can reduce your risk.