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Nearly thirty million people take aspirin daily to prevent heart problems. Six million of them take aspirin without medical awareness or advice. Self-medication is medicating oneself without the advice of a physician.

Do we need to see a physician to take a pain reliever for a headache or muscle ache? Do we need to see our family doctor to treat a cough or heartburn? There is no requirement other than common sense for non-life-threatening diseases.

One of my brothers died of a brain aneurysm a few years ago. He refused to go to the doctor. He had had severe headaches for years. He self-medicated to deaden the pain.

At the beginning of this year, my wife, daughter and I had flu-like symptoms. My daughter and I were safe and sound after five or six days. My wife was not. After nearly three weeks, she finally saw a physician and a couple or three days later her symptoms disappeared bu taking the appropriately prescribed medical treatment.

Most of us are aware that aspirin, especially low-dose aspirin (81 mg) has been recommended by healthcare providers to prevent heart-related disease. All drugs have side effects. Some of us never feel or see these side effects. Others do. Long-term usage of medication should never be done without medical advice.

In 2018, three studies have shown that aspirin used to prevent heart-related disease might not be healthy for all. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the American Heart Association, and the American College of Cardiology tell us that people over 70 years of age should confirm with their family doctor if aspirin is still required. Why?

The risk of bleeding increases in seniors over 70 years of age without any history of hearts attacks or strokes. The benefit of taking aspirin for cardiovascular disease prevention is no longer warranted.

Consider getting a checkup if you are over 70 years of age and have been taking aspirin under your doctor’s advice. Verify if it is still needed. Give serious thought to seeking medical advice if you are self-medicating and have no family history or cardiovascular-related disease.

Aspirin has its place in treatment and prevention. Aspirin thins the blood and can prevent clotting which prevents strokes and heart attacks. The side effects of daily aspirin usage can be a hemorrhagic stroke caused by a burst blood vessel, potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding, and serious allergic reactions. These and additional risks are increased if you are taking other blood thinners (Coumadin, Xarelto, Lovenox, Arista, Eliquis, and others).

Some steroids and NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) painkillers (Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Celebrex, etc.) also increase the risk of side effects when taken with aspirin. Think about it for a moment. Aspirin has side effects. Adding other prescription drugs doubles or triples the likelihood of side effect severity.

Yes, you might benefit from a daily aspirin regimen if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or other health issues. But, see your physician to be sure that you are doing the right thing.

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