Dr Oz: Should You Take Low-Dose Aspirin? + Risk Factors & Benefits

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Dr Oz: Low-Dose Aspirin

Dr. Oz shared that aspirin is one of the most widely taken drugs in America and an estimated one in five Americans take it regularly. New studies are saying that aspirin may not be right for you. He wanted to answer the question: should you be taking a low-dose aspirin.

Approximately 60 million Americans take aspirin to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke and research suggests it may also prevent some cancers. But a report out of Harvard says too many of the wrong people are taking aspirin. The report says that nearly half of the people who could benefit from taking a low-dose aspirin take it, while many others who take it, shouldn’t. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the drug. It’s been shown that aspirin can reduce inflammation which can cure headaches and prevent a heart attack. But how concerned should you be about aspirin side effects? How do you know if you should be taking a daily aspirin?

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Dr Oz: Should You Take Low-Dose Aspirin?

Dr Oz: Should You Take Low-Dose Aspirin? + Risk Factors & Benefits

Dr Oz discussed whether women should be taking a low-dose aspirin and why. (Margaret M Stewart / Shutterstock.com)

Dr. Oz admitted that he has recommended taking low-dose aspirin on his show, has talked passionately about it, and even takes it himself. He said a lot of reports are now saying that those who take a daily aspirin shouldn’t, and a lot that don’t should.

Dr. Oz first explained the reasons for taking a low-dose aspirin, which include a possible reduction in the risk of a heart attack or heart disease. It alsohelps reduce the risk of stroke, and some studies report it could reduce the risk of cancer. To join his discussion, Dr. Oz welcomed Dr. Holly Andersen.

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Dr. Andersen explained that it’s a misconception that aspirin is for everybody. She said it doesn’t keep the doctor away and it’s not a cure-all. She said aspirin is a powerful medication that thins the blood and cause life-threatening conditions like ulcers. She said you should know your risk and know that it could help your risk for cardiovascular disease, if you’re someone who is at risk.

There are three questions you should ask yourself before taking a low-dose aspirin and the first is “are you 50 or over?” Dr. Andersen explained that 50 is the average age for women to go through menopause and once you go through menopause, you start catching up with men in terms of heart disease risks. She said your heart disease risk doubles with every decade. She went on to say that heart disease is the number one cause of death among women in our country and more women have died from heart disease than men since 1984.

Dr Oz: Risk Factors For Cardiovascular Disease

So what about the women who aren’t yet 50? Dr. Ruth Oratz said some women under 50 may have other important risk factor for cardiovascular disease or they should know those risk factors.

The next question you should ask yourself to see if you should take a low-dose aspirin is: do you have a family history of heart disease or cancer? A family history doesn’t mean parents or grandparents who died from a stroke or heart disease in their 80s or 90s. Dr. Andersen said if you have a history of those things occurring in younger family members especially those under age 60, it dramatically increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The most common cancers we think about for women are breast and ovarian cancer, for men and women both, it colon or rectal cancer and lung cancer. Dr. Andersen explained that the risk factors for having cardiovascular disease and stroke include having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. In addition, smoking, being obese, being depressed, and being sedentary contribute. If you had high blood pressure or diabetes while you were pregnant that increases your risk significantly.

Dr Oz: Why Take Low-Dose Aspirin

Dr. Oz shared that a lot of people in the audience either were taking aspirin when they didn’t need to, while others weren’t taking it when they should have been. One woman, who had a few of the risk factors, shared that she actually was told by her doctor that she didn’t need to take a low-dose aspirin. Dr. Andersen said you should know that they’re generalized recommendations and you should personalize your risk.

If you’re going to take an aspirin, Dr. Andersen and Dr. Oratz suggested you take low-dose aspirin or a baby aspirin, which is 81 milligrams. She said most of the studies done worldwide suggest two baby aspirins or 162 milligrams a day. Dr. Oratz said she thinks the most important thing when it comes to taking aspirin is to drink a full glass of water with it. She said it will help dissolve the aspirin and prevent bleeding. Dr. Oz said he takes two baby aspirin a day.

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