Don’t take that daily aspirin unless your doctor says to do it

June 17, 2019 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

An aspirin a day may not help keep the heart attack away for some.

Aspirin, which interferes with your blood’s clotting action, has often been looked at as a way to lower the risk for heart disease or stroke.

However, recent studies indicate the increased risk of internal bleeding that comes with taking aspirin daily outweighs the potential benefits, and may not make aspirin the best choice for some people looking to prevent heart disease.

New recommendations suggest that aspirin should be used infrequently as a routine primary prevention method for heart attacks or other cardiac events.

For those with low- to moderate-risk levels for heart disease, studies found that the benefit of taking aspirin was offset by the increased risk for bleeding. One study in particular showed that aspirin did not have a measurable effect on healthy patients over the age of 70 and could even be harmful.

Your doctor may still prescribe an aspirin regimen if:

  • You’ve already had a heart attack or stroke
  • You haven’t had a heart attack, but have had a stent placed in a coronary artery or have chest pain due to angina
  • You are at high risk for having a heart attack
  • You have diabetes and one other heart disease factor (like smoking or high blood pressure) and are over the age of 50 (for a man) or 60 (for a woman)

For most people with low- to moderate-level risk, lifestyle changes to adopt healthier habits offer better protection against heart disease. A heart-healthy diet, exercise and controlling other factors such as blood pressure play an important role in preventing heart disease.

Research continues on the benefits of aspirin as a preventative measure for heart disease. The bottom line: if you have questions about using aspirin as part of your heart health plan, talk to your doctor. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have any bleeding disorders, an aspirin allergy or stomach ulcers when discussing a daily aspirin routine.

If you are currently taking aspirin on a daily basis, experts warn against abruptly stopping. Suddenly stopping your aspirin regimen could actually increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor before ending your aspirin routine.

Your heart is in good hands when you choose Edward-Elmhurst Health for cardiovascular care. Learn more.

Related blogs:
5 things you need to know about heart attacks
Heart-healthy benefits of red wine, dark chocolate
Is full-fat dairy safe for your heart?

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