Does an aspirin a day keep heart problems away? Aspirin (or acetylsalicylic acid) may be a common over-the-counter medication, but for some people, daily doses can help reduce their chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
How does aspirin help with heart problems?
A blood clot in either your veins or arteries can disrupt the flow of blood to your vital organs. That includes your heart as well as your brain. The result can be a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin thins your blood and helps prevent it from clotting in the first place.
However, even good candidates for aspirin therapy may not fully realize its health benefits until nearly a decade after beginning treatment. Also, although aspirin is available without a prescription, it can have harmful side effects. By thinning your blood, aspirin can cause internal bleeding, both in your stomach and your brain, which can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.
How can I know if I am a good candidate for aspirin therapy?
You should always consult with your primary care provider before beginning aspirin therapy. Your provider or a specialist may recommend that you start taking aspirin daily if:
- You’ve had a heart attack or stroke already and don’t have a sensitivity to aspirin or a history of bleeding.
- You’ve never had a heart attack but are at an elevated risk of having a heart attack.
- You haven’t had a heart attack, but you’ve had a stent placed in a coronary artery; you’ve had coronary bypass surgery; or you have chest pain due to coronary artery disease, also known as angina.
- You have both diabetes and at least one other condition (such as high blood pressure) that places you at a greater risk of contracting heart disease – and you’re a man older than 50 or a woman older than 60.
- You’re between 50 and 59 years old and have a 10 percent (or greater) risk of having a heart attack over the next 10 years.
The medical community is still researching whether or not aspirin therapy benefits adults under the age 50 or over the age of 70. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends aspirin therapy only for those who have previously experienced a heart attack or stroke, or who are living with a heart condition.
If you think you may be a good candidate for aspirin therapy, reach out to your primary care provider. Goshen Heart & Vascular Center works closely with primary care providers to diagnose and treat patients with heart and vascular disease. To learn more about how we can help you take care of your heart, check out the Goshen Heart & Vascular Center or call (574) 533-7476.
Posted: 9/21/2017 by
Filed under: Heart and Vascular