Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

3 Ways Cardioprotective Aspirin Therapy Can Harm Your Health

by Hugh Larson

If you take a daily cardioprotective aspirin to reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke, you may be risking your health. While aspirin may raise your risk for developing certain health problems, you should never abruptly discontinue your regimen without consulting with your physician. Doing so may increase your risk for a blood clot.  Here are three ways that your cardioprotective aspirin therapy regimen may harm your health:

Visual Loss

Aspirin may lead to vision problems including cataract formation and macular degeneration. While occasional aspirin use doesn't raise the risk, people who take it on a long-term basis, or who take large daily doses to manage inflammatory conditions may be at an especially high risk.

If you experience blurred or dim vision, or if colors don't look bright, see your eye doctor. You'll need a comprehensive examination to rule out these ocular conditions so that prompt treatment can be implement to avoid further vision loss.

While your eye doctor may not be able to determine if your cataracts or macular degeneration have been caused by aspirin use, he may suspect they are related after you provide him with a thorough oral medical history. If your optometrist concludes that your eye disease is the result of your aspirin use, talk to your physician about reducing your dose or prescribing a different medication altogether that has fewer ocular side effects.

Kidney Damage

Aspirin, which is known as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, along with other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, can raise the risk for kidney damage. The risk is higher in those who take larger that recommended doses, and in those who have preexisting renal or circulation problems.

While the risk for kidney damage is thought to be higher in people who take non-aspirin NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, aspirin, even in low doses, can cause problems. If you experience lower back pain, an increase or decrease in urinary output, blood in your urine or if you get frequent bladder infections, see your doctor.

Similarly, if you notice that your urine is exceptionally foamy, it may mean that you have protein in your urine caused by NSAID use. While foam in your urine is almost never serious, and is almost always present first thing in the morning and after eating certain foods, if it persists, ask your doctor for a urinalysis.

Abnormal Bleeding

One of the most dangerous side effects of taking aspirin is abnormal bleeding, and is commonly seen in the family practice setting. The reason why doctors prescribe aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes is that when you take it your blood is less likely to clot, resulting in the obstruction of a major artery. In some cases, however, aspirin can thin your blood too much, leading to life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding.

In rare cases, aspirin can even cause dangerous bleeding in your brain and cause a cerebral hemorrhage. While these side effects are more likely to occur in elderly patients and in those taking high doses of aspirin, you may experience excessive bruising, bleeding gums, blood in your urine and nosebleeds from taking aspirin.

Taking too much aspirin can also lead to anemia because of persistent, slow bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. If you begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded, become pale or notice tiny purple dots under your skin, you may be anemic and will need a complete blood count, or CBC, to check your red blood cells and iron stores.

If you experience any of the above effects from aspirin, see your family practice doctor. If, however, you experience severe bleeding from your gastrointestinal tract, or if you feel weak, develop chest pain or have trouble breathing, seek emergency medical treatment at the nearest hospital.


About Me

Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

I have worked in a supportive role in the medical industry for over 20 years, and I have been amazed at the advances in medicine that have been made. While it is always great to hear about a new medication that helps cure a disease or a new surgical procedure that can help someone live a normal life again after an injury, I have been especially amazed at the research that has shown just how much our physical and mental health are connected. Since I keep on top of all of the amazing medical studies being performed and I know others are too busy to hunt them down themselves, I decided to start a blog to share my favorite health tips for keeping both your mind and body healthy.