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14 Feb 2006

Aspirn
I have heard that taking 150mg of asprin per day is good for your heart. Is there any danger in taking asprin and is 150mg sufficient. I also heard on Oprah that one should be taking folic acid and 2 mini asprin every day to help prevent certain types of cancers is this true.
Answer 654 views
Expert
HeartDoc

01 Jan 0001

Dear Happy Hear,

Aspirin has no direct effect on the heart. What is does is to interfere with the function of certain blood cells called platelets. This prevents the formation of tiny clots inside blood vessels. If there is any narrowing of your heart arteries, clots tend to form at the site of the narrowing, and this can then cause total blockage of the artery. The result is a heart attack. Aspirin prevents these clots forming, thereby reducing your chances of a heart attack. Aspirin does nothing to prevent narrowing of the arteries or the deposition of cholesterol in the artery wall (which is largely the cause of the narrowing) in the first place, but it just reduces the chances of any narrowing which is present, leading to a heart to a heart attack.

80 – 100mg Aspirin daily is enough to prevent platelet clots forming. But please realise that aspirin is not an innocuous substance. Many people are highly allergic to aspirin. Asthmatics should avoid aspirin, as up to 20% can develop severe aspirin induced asthma attacks. Anyone with a history of ulcers or any bleeding problem should avoid aspirin, due to the high risk of gastro-intestinal haemorrhage, even in these low doses. These are but a few of the recognized hazards of aspirin use, so cardiologist do not recommend that everyone takes it on a “just in case” basis. Aspirin is prescribed for specific conditions and for a limited time.

Folic acid is a safe supplement to take. Whilst there is some statistical association found between aspirin use and a decreased incidence of some intestinal cancers, there is no hard evidence to say that taking aspirin will prevent the cancers from occurring in any given individual. There is no clearcut link as we have between smoking and the causation of lung cancer for example: even here, we cannot guarantee that is if you never smoke you will not get lung cancer. All we can say is that if you do smoke x cigarettes for z years, your chances of developing lung cancer in 5 or 10 years will be a certain figure.

HeartDoc
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