Aspirin, also known as acetyl-salicylic acid is an OTC (over-the-counter) drug which is used for pain, fever, and inflammation, so it is multi-functional as an analgesic, anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory and also to prevent clotting problems. Some of the beneficial effects of this drug are; its ability to block the production of pain-producing chemicals and control the part of brain that regulates temperature. It is widespread in use and a dosage of 300 to 1000 mg for adults, is generally prescribed for fever or arthritis and the exact dose depends on the disease or condition. Even low doses on a daily basis are given to patients with clotting and cardiovascular problems.
Why people need to be careful when using Aspirin?
Even though, this drug is known to provide relief from several pains ranging from simple headaches to pain due to arthritis, it is advised not to exceed the recommended dosage. All the benefits of the drug should be balanced or should outweigh the risks involved. This aspect cannot be generalized and should be assessed on an individual basis, especially, if the drug has to be taken on a long-term basis.
Aspirin can cause stomach irritation; it is better taken with food or beverage. It is better to use the form which dissolves in the mouth itself, to avoid such problems. It is best avoided before surgery as it increases bleeding. Some other undesirable side-effects of the drug are heartburn, loss of appetite, vision and breathing problems etc.
It is always wise to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor, as sometimes fatal side-effects, cross-re-activity with other drugs can occur as result of daily-use of this drug. In case of serious complications like hearing loss, dizziness, and severe stomach pain after having the drug, you have to consult a doctor straightaway.
Five side effects of Aspirin on human body
Some long-term side effects of the drug on your body and biochemical preserves inside the body are as follows:
1. Loss of Folic acid in the body
This essential nutrient plays a very important role in the efficient functioning of our immune system, acts as a co-enzyme in many biochemical reactions and pathways in our body. There is an increased loss of folic acid in the body even with low-dose daily usage of aspirin. It has been found that folic acid levels in urine and blood were lower than normal in people taking aspirin for their arthritis problems. So, doctors advise such patients to include a daily dose of folic acid as it is a very crucial vitamin for many body functions.
2. Gastrointestinal bleeding
This side-effect has been reported by many on daily use of aspirin. Gastrointestinal bleeding can slowly deplete stores of essential iron in the body which can in turn cause anemia with a host of other problems affecting the overall well-being of the individual. Child-bearing women are more prone to such complications. It is therefore important to undergo tests to trace such deficiencies, take required precautions to prevent further worsening of health. Doctors may prescribe iron supplements which may be beneficial to an extent to deal with side-effect of aspirin.
3. Depletion of Vitamin B12 by taking aspirin
Doctors advise some patients to take aspirin daily to reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Aspirin can irritate the lining of the stomach and damage it. As stomach is the organ responsible for Vitamin B12 absorption, when the lining is damaged, its function gets impaired and there is less absorption of the vitamin. This in-turn, results in reduced levels of vitamin B12 inside the body, as a result the efficient functioning of the brain and nervous system gets impaired. Vitamin B12 supplements are given to patients taking aspirin in order to manage such deficiencies.
4. Depletion of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin which plays a critical role in the formation of blood cells, bones and tooth. It is also important in collagen synthesis, healing of wounds and in dealing with psychological disturbances like stress. Daily usage of Aspirin is known to deplete the Vitamin C stores inside the body, thus affecting all these functions. Supplementation of a few hundred milligrams of Vitamin C daily may aid in dealing with these problems.
5. Reduced levels of essential mineral Zinc
This mineral is important for proper digestion, and for different metabolic pathways as it is involved in the formation of different enzymes and is also needed for utilization of biochemical substances. Aspirin is known to decrease these essential mineral levels in the long run. Many vital organs inside our body need zinc in adequate levels for normal functioning, so when required levels are not maintained inside our body, changes do occur in functioning. Supplementing with zinc may be the solution to counteract this loss.
Other chronic problems like hemorrhagic stroke, allergic reactions, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) can also occur. So, the final word is that, even though you are aware of the benefits and over-all effects of aspirin, the information is purely based only on the statistics. So, it is not possible to say that you too can reap the benefit. An individualistic approach is realistic and will go a long way in effectively tacking problems. It is extremely important to remember that, this drug only reduces your risk to a certain problem while other measures also need to be taken as recommended by your physician.