You may have heard about certain health benefits of taking a low-dose aspirin each day. Should you consider this if you have diabetes?
This is a subject that you should talk to your doctor about. It's not that aspirin necessarily has a direct effect on blood sugar or diabetes. Instead, it's about your heart, and conditions like stroke or vascular disease.
With diabetes, you are at least twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke. You also are at risk of having these conditions at an earlier age than other people.
So, where does aspirin come in?
Studies have found that taking a low-dose aspirin each day lowers the risk of heart attack. Scientists aren't entirely sure why. It's thought that aspirin keeps red blood cells from clumping together and forming a clot, which can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Aspirin's effects are still being studied.
But aspirin can have other consequences, too.
Aspirin is not safe for everyone. It can cause stomach problems in some people and more severe complications in others, including bleeding problems. It can also affect your liver.
When you talk with your doctor, he or she may take into account your age and whether you have other risk factors for heart disease. Besides your existing diabetes, these include:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Being overweight
- Being physically inactive
- Having a family history of early heart disease
- Being 55 or older
- Protein in the urine (albuminuria)
- Whether you have been previously diagnosed with cardiovascular disease
The effects of aspirin have not been studied in people younger than 30. And people younger than 21 should not take it without a doctor's approval.
Talk to your doctor before starting any new medication, even something as common as aspirin. He or she can discuss the benefits and risks.
Created on 04/01/2013
Updated on 04/01/2013
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Lower heart disease risk.
- American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes–2013. Diabetes Care. 2013;36:s11-s66.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. Diabetes, heart disease and stroke.