Much Ado About Health

           Medicines play a major role in helping to prevent and treat the myriad of diseases that come with the aging process. Unfortunately, many patients do not take advantage of the most reliable information available about the medications they take because few read the inserts provided by the manufacturer.  Becoming better acquainted with medicines prescribed by your doctors is a practice every patient, young or older, should adopt. This is especially true for senior adults, since reactions to and tolerance for medications often vary according to age. The more aware of what you’re taking and how if affects your body, the better control you will have in your day to day well-being. What you may not know can harm you.  And the reverse is true: What you know can help you.
            This post focuses on little known information about aspirin. This information may not apply to everyone, and you should consult your physician before stopping or reducing all prescribed medications.  

                 Aspirin – The Wonder Drug  

           I was surprised by my doctor’s response when I told him I was taking my aspirin three times a day rather than daily, as he had prescribed. His slight shoulder shrug was followed by, “That’s fine, aspirin’s effects remain in the body for several days.” Prior to that new revelation, I struggled between the desire to prevent another heart attack and aspirin’s side effects that often mimicked a heart attack. Taking it every day as prescribed was literally doing more harm than good. Even though I breathed a sigh of relief after that conversation, I eventually had to add Pepcid along with aspirin. Encouraged by my instincts about the effects of aspirin on me, and armed with a sketchy disclosure of how aspirin works, I decided to do more research. I discovered that: 

  • The primary difference in regular and enteric-coated is in the rate of absorption into the system.  Enteric-coated aspirin takes longer to absorb which results in more time needed to bring pain relief. 
  • Aspirin may cause bleeding, once it is absorbed into the bloodstream because it adversely affects blood cells called platelets that control clotting. It can also cause stomach and intestinal irritation because it reduces the enzymes that protect linings of your stomach and intestines.
  • The amount of aspirin in the blood diminishes each day after taking the first dose. However, it continues to work on platelets that prevent blood clots for three to five days after the initial dose. For this reason, patients on aspirin therapy may be able to reduce the daily dosage, as my doctor did for me.                           

If you’re experiencing side effects that make taking aspirin intolerable, you may want to discuss reducing the frequency of your prescription with your doctor.

 Information on this page is not medical advice.  Consult your doctor for questions regarding all aspects of your health.                                     

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