Around 100 billion aspirin tablets are made every year and it is often called the wonder drug, because it can be used to treat so many conditions.
There are more than 50 treatments you can buy over the counter that contain aspirin as their main ingredient.
Aspirin could help you with conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, but you should check with your doctor before you start taking it - as it does carry some risks.
Find out more about aspirin, the uses of aspirin and any side-effects and risks you should be aware of.
What is aspirin?
Aspirin was originally developed by a German chemist in 1897 and is made from a natural ingredient called salicin that can be found in willow trees.
The early trials discovered it worked brilliantly to relieve pain, inflammation and fever, but it wasn't until the 1970s that scientists discovered how aspirin actually works.
Now hardly a year goes by without scientists discovering new uses for aspirin.
1. Heart diseaseMillions of heart disease patients take aspirin in low doses because it thins the blood. It lowers the risk of strokes, heart attacks and other heart problems, including angina.
Deep-vein thrombosis is basically the build-up of a clot in a major vein and becomes serious
if it becomes big enough to stop the flow of blood.
Aspirin can help thin the blood and some doctors now advise taking an
aspirin before travelling on a plane - it's important you check with
your GP first, though.
3. CancerThere is more and more evidence that aspirin can help protect against various types of cancer.
- Researchers in Australia say that aspirin can reduce the risk of one common form of skin cancer
- It has now been shown that taking aspirin regularly reduces the risk of bowel cancer by about 40% after at least 5 years' use
- Similarly the American Cancer Society has shown that the likelihood of prostate cancer can also be reduced by taking aspirin
- Breast cancer is also less likely if a patient takes aspirin, according to trials.
4. DementiaAlzheimer's happens because blood vessels in the brain fur up and stop
working properly. Although it hasn't been proved in proper trials, there
is evidence that aspirin can make the appearance of dementia a lot less
5. ArthritisOne of aspirin's main uses is pain relief and reducing inflammation.
Taken every day it helps millions of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid
arthritis sufferers to ease their symptoms.
6. Pre-eclampsiaPre-eclampsia is a common condition that can affect pregnant women. It is thought to be caused by blood clots in arteries going to the placenta and by taking regular aspirin, these blood vessels are kept open and the likelihood
of premature birth and pre-eclampsia is reduced.
Regular aspirin doses may help keep these blood vessels open and
prevents the potentially fatal rise in blood pressure that occurs with
Important: Generally, the medical advice is for pregnant women not
to take aspirin. Your doctor may prescribe it for pre-eclampsia or
other conditions, at a low dosage. Do not take aspirin if you are
pregnant, unless you have checked with your doctor.
7. DiabetesConditions such as blindess, stroke and kidney failure are common
complications of poor circulation in diabetes patients, so taking an
aspirin daily is an accepted treatment.
Aspirin has been around for more than 100 years and is still the most widely-used drug in the world.
Around 100 billion aspirin tablets are made every year and it is often
called the wonder drug, because it can be used to treat so many
There are more than 50 treatments you can buy over the counter that
contain aspirin as their main ingredient.