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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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The 2,000 Year Old Wonder Drug Aspirin

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It's one of the simplest and oldest medicines around, but it can truly work wonders. Aspirin has been in existence for 2,000 years with Egyptian papyri showing that its derivative, acetylsalicylic acid, was used to treat fevers. Plants such as willow, which contains high amounts of acetylsalicylic acid, were used by several ancient civilizations.

Not much has changed as far as aspirin's ability to fight our aches and pains, as well as a host of other maladies. Multiple recent studies have shown that low doses of aspirin (75 mg) taken twice a day can cut a person's risk of colon cancer by 17-28% and reduces the odds of dying by 30-40% after receiving a colon cancer diagnosis. Other research shows that taking one baby aspirin a day can improve cognitive functioning and protect memory in older adults. It can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by 55%.

Not only is aspirin good for your heart and colon, it is also recommended for your heart. The Mayo Clinic says that taking an aspirin a day can improve your heart's health by interfering with its clotting action, which could lead to a blood clot. Despite its ability to prevent and fight a host of problems, doctors don't recommend that most patients take aspirin on a daily basis. However, some doctors do suggest that patients with the following health histories take an aspirin a day:

  • those who've had a heart attack or stroke
  • those who have a family history of colon cancer
  • have never had a heart attack, but are at a high risk of having one
  • are a man with diabetes over the age of 50, or a woman with diabetes who is over the age of 60
  • have undergone a coronary bypass surgery, have a stent in place in a coronary artery, or have chest pain due to coronary angina