Many Americans take a daily low-dose aspirin to protect their hearts. Now it appears aspirin may also reduce flare-ups of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a study of COPD sufferers; researchers found that aspirin linked to fewer moderate exacerbations; but not severe bouts; of the lung disease. It also reduced moderate and severe episodes of labored breathing.
“This study highlights that adding aspirin to current treatment regimens may potentially improve the well-being of patients suffering from a burdensome chronic disease while reducing health care utilization. He is a pulmonary and critical care fellow at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
However, More research is needs before broadly recommending that patients start taking aspirin as part of their COPD treatment. The study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Fawzy and his colleagues looked at nearly 1,700 people with COPD. About 45 % of participants reported regularly taking low-dose aspirin at the start of the study. (Low-dose aspirin is generally 81 milligrams.)
Better quality of life
The researchers found the aspirin users , have fewer flare-ups over three years. Patients also reported better quality of life and less shortness of breath; compared with patients who did not use aspirin; according to the study. COPD includes bronchitis and emphysema; two chronic lung diseases. Smoking is its main cause, but long-term environmental exposure to toxic dust or chemicals is another culprit.
Millions of Americans suffer from COPD, and it is the third leading cause of disease-related death in the nation; according to the American Lung Association. There is treatment but no cure. Medications usually include a bronchodilator that opens the airways, making it easier to breathe and an anti-inflammatory. In the most severe cases, patients need a constant supply of oxygen.
Aspirin is already shown a benefit in preventing heart attacks and strokes in patients with cardiovascular disease, but its role in COPD has unclear. However, because this study can not actually prove that aspirin caused a reduction in flare-ups; experts aren’t ready to make a general recommendation about aspirin use for COPD. “It’s really too early to says.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
“COPD is a chronic condition where they really have limited options to treat patients; who are not involves in the new research. Although new treatments would welcome; it is hard to tell from this study if aspirin really reduced flare-ups. That’s because it what’s called an observational study. Researchers compared patients who self-reported they did or didn’t take aspirin, but not randomly assigned to one group or the other.
“A randomized controlled trial of aspirin use in patients with COPD is warranted to rigorously assess whether aspirin is beneficial in this patient population.” One problem in comparing COPD patients is that many suffer from other conditions. Most COPD patients, for example, also have cardiovascular disease, Mensch pointed out.
However, they noted that other studies have found aspirin may extend the life of COPD patients and slow the progression of emphysema. “It may help,”. So how exactly might aspirin work its magic? Mensch noted aspirin is an anti-inflammatory; which might explain the reduction in COPD flare-ups.