Daily aspirin therapy helps lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, but daily aspirin therapy isn’t appropriate for everyone. Is it right for you?
You should consider daily aspirin therapy only if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, or you’re at high risk of either. And then, proceed only with your doctor’s approval. Although taking an occasional aspirin or two is safe for most adults to use for headaches, body aches or fever, daily use of aspirin can have serious side effects.
Aspirin interferes with your blood’s clotting action. When you bleed, your blood’s clotting cells, called platelets, accumulate at the site of your wound. The platelets help form a plug that seals the opening in your blood vessel to stop bleeding.
But this clotting can also happen within the vessels that supply your heart and brain with blood. If your blood vessels are already narrowed from atherosclerosis — the accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries — a blood clot can quickly form and block the artery. This prevents blood flow to the heart or brain and causes a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin therapy reduces the clumping action of platelets — possibly preventing heart attack and stroke.
Early studies on daily aspirin therapy were done mostly in men. More recent studies have focused on the effects of aspirin in women, finding that its effects differ between the sexes, and for women, between age groups.
Whether you need daily aspirin therapy depends on your risk of heart disease and stroke. Risk factors for a heart attack or stroke include: Continue reading Daily aspirin therapy, is it right thing for you?