While regular doses of aspirin lowers the risk of strokes, heart attacks and breast, colon and prostate cancer, should everyone take it on a daily basis? Dr. Randall Stafford, professor of medicine at Stanford’s Prevention Research Center says no. Stafford believes aspirin research is compelling, even more so now that new research suggests it may possibly lower the risk of melanoma in women. Yet, he cautions that aspirin is still a blood thinner, and taking it can carry some risks. The risks can be somewhat minor such as bruising easily, and increased nose bleeds, or major, including ulcers or brain hemorrhages. Evaluating aspirin’s benefits over the risks depends on the person. For example, someone with heart disease should almost definitely take a daily dose of aspirin. Patients with risk factors such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoking may also be good candidates. However, healthy, younger patients may not benefit from taking an aspirin everyday, and could be harmed from it. “I definitely don’t recommend everyone go out to Walgreens and pick up over-the-counter aspirin without having a conversation with their doctor,” Stafford said.

Dr. Robbins noted that aspirin has been around for a long time, having been invented by German chemists in 1871. At the beginning of the 20th century, people began to sneak it into the U.S. from Canada, because it was less expensive (Just as medications are brought in from Canada today). Soon after WWI, the U.S. began making it’s own generic form, rather than purchasing it from a German manufacturer……. San Francisco Chronicle   3/27/13

 

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