Low dose aspirin and your diabetes

If you’re my age, you’ll remember Bex powders. They were a powerful combination of aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine. It was advertised with the phrase, “Stressful day? What you need is a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down”. However, we eventually found out that the large doses of phenacetin were responsible for kidney damage.

Aspirin, on the other hand, has been used throughout the centuries, but only started to be used as a blood thinner in the 1970s.

Aspirin, when taken in the correct dose of 100-150mg daily, helps to keep blood platelets from sticking together.

Platelets are tiny blood cells that help your body to form blood clots.

This process is helpful when your skin is broken; however, in situations where you’re more at risk of stroke and heart attack you want to clot less.

For people living with diabetes this is especially important as the passageways of our arteries can narrow due to fatty cholesterol build-up on the artery walls.

Blood clots can block narrow arteries or reduce the flow of blood to major organs and your feet.

Top tips

  1. Generally, you will take low dose aspirin once daily or once every second day with food and a full glass of water.  Ask your pharmacist for the best time of day for you to take it.
  2. Alcohol can add extra irritation to your stomach with aspirin.
  3. There is no evidence that enteric-coated aspirin protects your stomach more than the usual aspirin.
  4. Some other medications or herbal remedies should not be used with aspirin. If you wish to take an over-the-counter medicine, check with your pharmacist first.
  5. If you experience stomach or abdominal pain, vomit blood, or experience red or black bowel motions, speak with your doctor.
  6. Aspirin is generally prescribed only if you have previous heart, stroke or circulation problems.  If you have been prescribed this medication by a doctor, please ask if it’s suitable for you to take low dose aspirin.For more information on this article or general information, please contact us on 1800 177 055

By Donna Itzstein, Diabetes Qld pharmacist

Keywords: medication

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