The Benefits of Aspirin for Seniors

Updated 7/23/15 3:01pm | “It’s a remarkable idea that something that’s in medicine cabinets around the world, and has been around for more than a century, can prevent cancer,” said Dr. John Baron, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

How Daily Aspirin Can Help

Aspirin is a reasonably priced over-the-counter drug typically used to reduce pain or fever. This pain reliever is a viable solution when compared to alternative treatment. Only your doctor can decide if the drug is right for you, but aspirin for seniors is becoming more common. Taken daily, aspirin has been shown to lower the risk of heart attack and clot-related stroke. There is now increasing evidence that aspirin for seniors may also help prevent, and possibly even treat cancer.

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Before you start a new medicine regime, you’ll first want to consult your doctor. Older adults in particular need to be cautious of additional risks. With a new prescription like aspirin for seniors there's a greater likelihood for taking incorrect doses. Once your doctor approves a daily aspirin routine, make sure you take the correct medication at the correct time of day. It’s common for doctors to recommend baby aspirin for seniors.

Aspirin Can Help Fight Disease

When you are injured, platelets (clotting cells) build up at the location of your wound. These platelets help form an emergency barrier that heals wounds. Clotting can also happen within your blood vessels. If fatty deposits narrow your blood vessels, one of those deposits can burst. If that happens, a blood clot can form and completely prevent blood flow. This can lead to a heart attack or even death. Aspirin for seniors has benefits such as reducing the clumping action of platelets and allowing your blood to move more freely, even through narrower blood vessels. Many medical professionals feel that this may reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

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Recent studies done at Oxford University in Britain support evidence that aspirin for seniors may also help fight cancer. Not only do scientists think that the medicine can help prevent cancer, but they also now believe it can prevent the spread of cancer to other organs by up to 40-50 percent. This is wonderful news for those with increased risk for cancer. If you can control “metastasis” (the spread of cancer) there’s a chance to reduce the risk of death from cancer. These studies are so new that the guidelines for aspirin therapy have not been updated. That means it is unlikely that doctors will start recommending aspirin for seniors to prevent cancer with patients.  However, these studies are a promising breakthrough.

Mixed Health Results with Aspirin

Unfortunately, scientists have not discovered “why” aspirin works against cancer. The new studies found an association between aspirin usage and reduced cancer risk, but they did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. It can take 10+ years for the effects of aspirin for seniors to kick in. In that time period, a person may also experience the negative side effects associated with prolonged aspirin use. One of the most serious side effects is an increased risk of internal bleeding; it is critical that you evaluate the risks and benefits with your doctor.

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“The question is no longer whether aspirin prevents cancer, but rather whether the risks associated with aspirin are overshadowed by its benefits,” said Dr. Baron. “But even the most pessimistic study shows a meaningful reduction.”

Alert1 wants to know-are you or a loved one using aspirin for seniors to prevent heart attack or stroke? Have you experienced any side effects since starting?