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Risks of Starting a Daily Aspirin Regimen

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

Aspirin therapy has been a standard recommendation for some seniors at risk for conditions like heart disease and stroke for many years. There are many proven health benefits of a daily aspirin in small amounts, about 75mg–or a quarter of an aspirin–is the standard recommendation. However, home care providers in the Lehigh Valley believe seniors and their in-home caregivers should also be aware of some of the risks associated with aspirin therapy.

Increased Risk of Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Low doses of aspirin taken over long periods of time may damage the coating that protects the walls of the stomach and intestines. When this coating is weakened, seniors are at an increased risk of developing stomach ulcers and experiencing bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

Increased Risk of Bleeding During Surgery

Aspirin is a blood thinner, which can be a double-edged sword. While helping to prevent a stroke, “thinner” blood also increases the risk of bleeding for seniors undergoing surgery or having certain dental procedures.

Possible Drug Interactions

Seniors already taking medications for other conditions need to be especially mindful of adding aspirin to the mix. Seniors taking anticoagulants like xarelto or apixaban, for instance, are at an increased risk of experiencing severe bleeding complications. Additional medications that may result in adverse reactions include:

• Ibuprofen
• Some antidepressants
• Heparin

Reactions with Herbal Supplements

The natural ingredients found in some herbal supplements may interact with aspirin if taken together each day. Herbal supplements that should not be combined with low-dose aspirin therapy include:

• Ginkgo
• Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils)
• Uncaria tomentosa (cat’s claw)

Possible Allergic Reactions

Some people who have never had an allergic reaction to aspirin may develop one as they get older. Signs of a possible aspirin allergy include:

• Itchy skin and hives
• Coughing or shortness of breath
• Swelling of the lips, tongue, or face

It’s never wise to self-prescribe daily doses of aspirin without doctor approval. Seniors and caregivers should also be observant for signs of an adverse reaction even when given the go-ahead to start aspirin therapy.

Learn more about promoting the health and wellness of your aging loved one from the experienced and friendly staff at Lehigh Valley Home Care Assistance. We provide hourly and live-in care for elderly, as well as specialized stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s care in the Lehigh Valley, ensuring seniors have the help and support needed regardless of personal ability. Call a dedicated Care Manager today at 484-350-3874 and request an in-home consultation.