Asprin and the stomach

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The drug known as aspirin was introduced in Europe in 1899 by a German chemist named Felix Hoffman who developed it as a treatment for his father’s arthritis. To manufacture aspirin Hoffman combined salicylic acid and acetic acid, the result was called acetylsalicylic acid (Research, 2009). A lot of time has passed since then, but aspirin is still used today to relieve many kinds of minor aches and pains including, but not limited to: headaches, toothaches, muscle pain, menstrual cramps, joint pains associated with arthritis, and the general achiness that many people experience with colds and flu.

Some people take aspirin daily to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart problems (Research, 2009). Aspirin is classified as a NSAID, or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. They are the most prescribed medications for treating conditions having to do with aches and inflammation. Most people are familiar with the over-the-counter versions of nonprescription NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

NSAIDs work by preventing cyclooxygenase (COX) in its two forms COX-1 or COX-2, from doing their jobs in the body (University, 2010). The COX enzymes are responsible for producing prostaglandins, which are a family of chemicals that have several important functions. They promote inflammation, pain, and fever; support the blood clotting function of platelets; and protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid.

Traditional NSAIDs, such as aspirin, reduce prostaglandins in the body and block the actions of both COX-1 and COX-2 (University, 2010). This is why they reduce inflammation, pain and fever, but it is also why NSAIDs can promote bleeding and cause ulcers in the stomach. The second major cause for ulcers is irritation of the stomach arising from regular use NSAIDs, such as aspirin. The American College of Gastroenterology says that when aspirin is used on a regular basis, serious damage to the stomach lining can occur.

Science daily reports that “low-dose aspirin treatment may be responsible for one extra case of gastrointestinal complications, which include ulcer bleeding or perforation, in every 50 aspirin users per year…” Sonia Hernandez-Diaz and Luis Garcia-Rodriguez did a study to show the major gastrointestinal risk factors of patients taking low-dose aspirin as a preventive measure against heart attack. The findings were that aspirin was the cause of 6 out of 1000 upper gastrointestinal tract complications per year (Gastroenterology, 2010).

A stomach ulcer additionally known as peptic ulcers is a tiny wearing away or opening in the gastrointestinal area. The most direct origin of peptic ulcers is the damage seen in the gastric or intestinal lining of the stomach by hydrochloric acid, an acid generally found in digestive fluids of the stomach. Surplus emission of hydrochloric acid, hereditary disposition, psychological stressors as well as the use of anti-inflammatory medication has been found to be significant reasons for the development or aggravation of ulcers.

Another study that was done has shown that aspirin can produce bleeding by breeching the mucosal barrier in the stomach lining. The mucosal barrier consists of an intrinsic barrier and the extrinsic barrier (Carolina, 2010). The intrinsic barrier includes the epithelial cells lining the digestive tract and the tight junctions that tie them together. The extrinsic barrier includes secretions and other nonphysical parts of the epithelium. The nonphysical parts of the extrinsic barrier help the epithelial cells maintain function. A prime example of these extrinsic components is bicarbonate ions.

The surface epithelial cells secrete these ions and they neutralize abrasive acids. The study proved that the bleeding occurred by using radioactive chromium, or Cr-51 (Gastroenterology, 2010). Then the amount of radioactivity within subject’s bowel movements was measured, which then gave an accurate measurement of blood loss caused by mucosal barrier decomposition. The final analysis was that for most people aspirin usage causes minimal bleeding, but for people, who are more receptive the amount of blood lost due to the effects aspirin has on the lining of the stomach, is significant.

It was also shown that patients who have ingested salicylates at least 24 hours prior to being admitted to the emergency room have substantial upper gastrointestinal bleeding (Carolina, 2010). In some cases of long-term aspirin use, anemia was detected due to the imbalance of blood loss to blood production ratio. To manufacture aspirin Hoffman combined salicylic acid and acetic acid, the result was called acetylsalicylic acid. Some people take aspirin daily to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart problems. Aspirin is classified as a NSAID, or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Traditional NSAIDs, such as aspirin, reduce prostaglandins in the body and block the actions of both COX-1 and COX-2 (University, 2010). The major cause for ulcers is irritation of the stomach arising from regular use NSAIDs, such as aspirin. Science daily reports that “low-dose aspirin treatment may be responsible for one extra case of gastrointestinal complications, which include ulcer bleeding or perforation, in every 50 aspirin users per year…” The mucosal barrier consists of an intrinsic barrier and the extrinsic barrier (Gastroenterology, 2010).

The nonphysical parts of the extrinsic barrier help the epithelial cells maintain function. The final analysis was that for most people aspirin usage causes minimal bleeding, but for people, who are more receptive the amount of blood lost due to the effects aspirin has on the lining of the stomach, is significant. ?

References Carolina, M. U. (2010). Digestive Diease Center. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www. ddc. musc. edu/public/organs/stomach. cfm Gastroenterology, A.C. (2010, http://www. acg. gi. org/patients/women/asprin. asp). The Dangers of Aspirin & NSAIDS. Retrieved October 29, 2010, from American College of Gastroenterology . Research, M. F. (2009, January 6). Peptic ulcer. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/peptic-ulcer/DS00242 University, C. (2010, September). Effects of Asprin on the Stomach. Retrieved October 30, 2010, from http://www. biog1105-1106. org/demos/105/unit6/aspirinstomach. extra. html.

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