Take an aspirin, it won’t hurt, oh yeah!

| December 16, 2013
Dr. Gerald Deas

Dr. Gerald Deas

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Aspirin is a miracle drug. It is so arrogant, it wears a slogan on its white coat: “Take an aspirin a day and keep the doctor away.”

Many folks have doctored themselves with aspirin without the advice of their physician hoping that symptoms will disappear. Aspirin is so available that you can buy it without a prescription in a drugstore, supermarket, bodega or candy store.

Folks use aspirin to reduce pains in joints, get rid of headaches and bring down a fever. Aspirin is also used in cream form to relieve joint pain and stiffness. Aspirin was the main drug in treating the symptoms of rheumatic fever although this condition was caused by a streptococcal infection. I’m sure it also reduced the inflammation that affected the muscles and valves of the heart.

The Egyptians used an herb called willow, which also contained a chemical similar to aspirin. I’m sure it was needed by those who were building those marvels, the pyramids. In 1899. The German chemist, Bayer discovered a chemical compound known as salicylic acid, which is the main component of aspirin. He began marketing this product as Bayer aspirin.

Aspirin has now been associated with preventing colon cancer by slowing down the production of cancer cells and thus reducing the size of the tumor. This wonderful drug is now being used to prevent heart attacks and stroke prevention. It is, however, important that the risk of taking aspirin may at times outweigh its benefits. Excessive use can cause gastrointestinal bleeding as well as bleeding in the brain (stroke). It is therefore important to be followed periodically by your physician especially if you are taking other medications such as Plavix, which may cause cardiovascular death.

It has been suggested by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that:

• 75mgs of aspirin is as effective as 325mgs.

• The use of a low dose aspirin in healthy women ages 55-79, may reduce the risk of a first stroke.

• In men, ages 45 to 79, 75mgs of aspirin may reduce the risk of the first heart attack.

• It is suggested that folks over the age of 80 years should not take aspirin on a regular basis due to gastrointestinal bleeding.

Aspirin has its place in preventing and treating serious illnesses however, it must be used with caution and under the care of your physician.

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Category: Health

About the Author ()

Gerald W. Deas, MD, MPH, MA is a physician, poet, patient advocate, playwright, media personality, political activist and public health crusader. Read his full bio at http://www.downstate.edu/giving/funds/deas.html/.

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