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If you take aspirin, you've got a pain reliever, heart attack preventer and possible cancer preventer rolled into one tablet. You might think that whoever invented aspirin is a genius, but the truth is humans have been using its natural equivalent for thousands of years.Salicylic acid can be found in jasmine, beans, peas, clover and certain grasses and willow bark.
Aspirin ( acetylsalicylic acid, abbreviated ASA), is often used as an analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, as an antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication.
Aspirin also has an antiplatelet effect by inhibiting the production of a substance called thromboxane, which binds platelet molecules. Aspirin is also used long-term, at low doses, to help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clot formation in people at high risk for developing blood clots.It has also been established that low doses of aspirin may be given immediately after a heart attack to reduce the risk of another heart attack.
The main undesirable side effects of aspirin are gastrointestinal ulcers, stomach bleeding, and tinnitus, especially in higher doses. In children and adolescents, aspirin is no longer used to control flu-like symptoms or the symptoms of chickenpox or other viral illnesses, because of the risk of Reye's syndrome.
Aspirin was the first discovered member of the class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Today, aspirin is one of the most widely used medications in the world.
Prevention of heart attacks and strokes
Today, Low doses of aspirin are recommended for heart-attack prevention in men who have had prior heart attacks, and stroke in women. Aspirin also reduces the chance of a heart attack and stroke.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men 49 to 79 take aspirin to prevent heart attack, and that women 55 to 79 take it to guard against ischemic strokes, when the potential benefits outweigh the potential harms from an increase in gastrointestinal hemorrhage.
Side effects include:
- Upset stomach and heartburn
- easy bruising/bleeding,
- difficulty hearing, ringing in the ears,
- change in the amount of urine,
- persistent or severe nausea/vomiting, unexplained tiredness, dizziness, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
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