Aspirin, the simple, white, headache reliever you buy over the counter has more health benefits than you may think. As a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, it has many advantages. Current research is underway to discover the potential aspirin has as a cancer preventative. Taking aspirin as a preventative measure for a disease is not right for everyone. Each person’s tolerance for such a drug will differ. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your healthcare professional about taking aspirin for more than an average headache.
Good for the Brain
The most common use of aspirin is for a headache. It works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandin by first inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme. That is a scientific way of saying that it relieves the pain caused by inflammation in the brain. Researchers recently discovered is that taking aspirin can be beneficial to memory and cognitive function. Tests spanning five years have shown an increase in memory scores in people taking aspirin the whole time. It also cuts the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 55%. It works by breaking down the proteins that cause plaques in the area of the brain reserved for memories.
Reduces a Heart Attack or Stroke
For years, physicians have prescribed aspirin to those with a high risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. This category is generally men and women over the age of 50. Heart attacks and strokes happen when the supply of blood to areas of the heart, or brain, is cut off. The obstruction in the artery can be a blockage, bubble, or buildup of substances formed within the body. Aspirin thins the blood, which then flows through the arteries easier. This symptom reduces the risk of blockages and therefore, heart attack or stroke.
Slows Breast Cancer
Many studies look at the effect of taking regular aspirin has on the growth and spread of breast cancer cells. Test using mice showed that aspirin shrank the cancer cells and slowed the spreading of the tumor. In human trials, some women found low doses of aspirin reduce the risk of breast cancer by 30%. Low dose is the key here. Large amounts of aspirin on a regular basis can have serious, detrimental, reoccurring effects on your health.
Helps With Melanoma
Skin cancer is one of the most common diseases in the world. The number of cases of skin cancer in the USA has increased in recent years. Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. A study that lasted over 12 years found that women who take aspirin regularly may decrease the risk of melanoma. In these tests, the aspirin activated tumor-suppressant genes and promoted cell death. The longer individuals used aspirin, the lower the risk. Doctors do not recommend that everyone start taking aspirin and lay in the sun on a hot day. Melanoma depends on many other factors such as genetics, skin and sun behaviors.
Lowers the Chance of Head and Neck Cancers
Cancers in the head and neck region usually begin in the squamous cells. The squamous cells line the mucosal surfaces inside the mouth, throat, and nose. Cancer forms here mainly due to excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Studies have shown that aspirin is a potential chemopreventive agent, causing a 25% reduction in head and neck cancers.
Relieves Liver Cancer
Taking aspirin can help those affected by liver cancer. A study showed that those who used aspirin for one year reduced the risk of other liver cancer complications. It cut hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and even reduced of death from chronic liver disease by 57%. It is not recommended to take aspirin to protect yourself from liver cancer. Research is continuing to learn how it affects you if you already have liver cancer.
Combats Ovarian Cancer
Over 20,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States in just one year. The risk of liver and ovarian cancers drop through the use of aspirin. Aspirin works to blocks the production of the substance that makes platelets sticky; this activation of platelets helps tumors grow. Aspirin also has anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce overall cancer risk. Studies are still ongoing to discover how aspirin reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, and scientists are confirming the findings.
Fights Colorectal and Gastrointestinal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is commonly known as colon cancer or rectal cancer. It is cancer of the colon and rectum. There has been a consensus that disease with the most significant reduction of risk due to taking aspirin is colorectal cancer. Gastrointestinal cancer also benefits from the effects of aspirin. This cancer of the gastrointestinal tract includes the stomach, pancreas, small and large intestine, rectum, and anus. Those who are at the highest risk of this disease are people who are 50 to 60 years old.
Okay for the Baby
Research shows benefits for women who take low-dose aspirin before and during pregnancy. It can boost chances of conception and promote healthy delivery. Taking a low dose of aspirin can also prevent or delay the onset of preeclampsia. Women trying to conceive or pregnant women consult a birth professional before having any dose of aspirin. Also, when pregnant you should never take regular-strength aspirin.
Ideal For People 50+
If you are over 50-years-old, you are at risk for conditions such as heart attack and stroke. If you take the recommended daily dose of aspirin, you reduce the risk of many age-related conditions. It is most important to take aspirin between the ages of 50 to 60. If you have remained healthy and disease free, physicians recommend it for another ten years. Your physician should advise you on what and how much you should be taking.