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Aspirin is a "blood-thinning" medication that may be recommended for once-a-day use to maintain heart health and reduce the risk of stroke.
If you've had a heart attack or stroke, or at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, your doctor may talk to you about taking daily aspirin. Antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, can help prevent a variety of potentially life-threatening conditions, including:
Research shows that for men who have had a heart attack, taking aspirin daily can lower the risk of a second heart event by 20-30%. It also reduces the risk of a recurrent stroke among women who have had a stroke caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke).
However, not everyone benefits from daily aspirin use and there are risks to taking aspirin every day, such as an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Your doctor will recommed daily aspirin use depending on several factors, including
For people without heart disease, guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force and other national groups say aspirin therapy should be decided case by case, depending on the individual’s risk factors and family history.
For people who have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a low-dose aspirin only for men older than 50 and women older than 60 who have at least one additional risk factor for heart disease, such as smoking, family history of heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Daily aspirin may not be recommended for individuals with conditions that could increase their risk of bleeding or other medical complications, such as:
TELL YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU ARE TAKING DAILY ASPIRIN.
DO NOT TAKE DAILY ASPIRIN WITHOUT FIRST TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT THE RISKS AND BENEFITS.
is categorized as an "antiplatelet" drug that slows down the activity of blood cells called platelets. Platelet stick to damaged areas inside blood vessels and start the formation of blood clots.
In blood vessels narrowed by heart disease, fatty deposits can burst, leading to the quick formation of a clot that blocks the flow of blood to the heart or brain. Regularly taking an aspirin helps prevent the clot from forming.
(Magnified image of platelets clumping together in a damaged area of the blood vessel and starting to form a clot.)
You and your doctor will discuss what dose of aspirin is right for you.
Your doctor may prescribe a daily dose ranging from 81 mg (the amount in a baby aspirin) to 325 mg (regular strength).
Very low doses of aspirin (75 mg) may also be recommended for some people.
Aspirin has been available for many years and its safety and efficacy have been shown in many medical studies. However, not all people can tolerate aspirin or benefit from its effects and other antiplatelet drugs are available that may be considered to prevent clotting in special circumstances, such as following a stent.
New antiplatelet drugs include clopidogrel (Plavix®), prasugrel (Effient®), ticagrelor (Brilinta®), ticlopidine (Ticlid®), cilostazol (Pletal®).