Ted is the Communications Director for the Heart Disease and Stroke Program
Now that I’m in my mid-40s, I’m aware of many things that affect my health. I know I should be active, I know I should eat right, and I know I shouldn’t smoke. But one thing my friends and I have been hesitant to do is to start taking an aspirin every day. Does it work? Is it right for me? There seems to be a lot of differing opinions on whether or not aspirin can give extra health benefits. So, I dug around a bit for more information, and found the only hard and fast rule on taking a daily aspirin is this: Consult your doctor or healthcare provider first.
So, why the hubbub about aspirin? It’s known to many that aspirin can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Aspirin can also help maintain normal circulation when arteries stop working as well as they should.
However, you may have recently heard about a possible link between aspirin and a lower risk of the development or spread of cancer. In March, www.lancet.com published studies that add to the growing evidence that a daily aspirin can help prevent and possibly treat cancer.
This data support previous studies showing aspirin may help stop the spread of some cancers, including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and other gastrointestinal cancers. Results from other studies have suggested aspirin may also benefit pregnant women, and patients with diabetes or dementia.
So, if aspirin’s so great, shouldn’t everyone take it? Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a wonder drug. In some people, aspirin may cause side effects, or interact with other medications or herbal supplements. Always tell your doctor or healthcare provider about any medicines or supplements you might be taking.
There are, of course, other ways to lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Although the risk of these diseases is sometimes affected by family history, we can influence many other factors, including preventing or controlling high cholesterol and blood pressure; choosing foods with less salt; avoiding tobacco and secondhand smoke; and choosing to move more and eat healthy.
Weekly Flu Report, December 19, 2014 posted on Dec 19
Rates of flu-like illness increased slightly over the past seven days in Massachusetts, as indicated in the latest weekly flu report. Flu season doesn’t tend to peak until later in February or even March – so there is still plenty of time to get vaccinated …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 19, 2014
Weekly Flu Report, December 12, 2014 posted on Dec 12
This week’s flu report shows a slight dip in rates of flu-like illness since last week’s report – which is entirely in keeping with the unpredictable nature of flu season. One thing we know for sure is that no matter what, the single best way to …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 12, 2014
Highlights of the Public Health Council Meeting, December 10, 2014 posted on Dec 10
The December monthly meeting of the Public Health Council featured the consideration of one Determination of Need (DoN) request, two votes on final amendments to existing regulations, and an informational presentation to the Council on a key DPH community initiative. First, the Council took up …Continue Reading Highlights of the Public Health Council Meeting, December 10, 2014