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Daily Aspirin Therapy

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by MNDEE, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. MNDEE

    MNDEE JF-Expert Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    Joined: Jul 10, 2009
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    This article is from Mayo Clinic site http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/daily-aspirin-therapy/HB00073
    Please take time to read part of the article below or use the link to visit the site.

    Daily aspirin therapy: Understand the benefits and risks
    Is an aspirin a day the right thing for you? It's not as easy a decision as it sounds. Know the benefits and risks before considering daily aspirin therapy.
    By Mayo Clinic staff
    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.
    How does aspirin prevent a heart attack or stroke?
    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.
    Does daily aspirin therapy differ between men and women?
    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.
    Should I take a daily aspirin?

    Whether you need daily aspirin therapy depends on your risk of heart disease and stroke. Risk factors for a heart attack or stroke include:
    • Smoking tobacco
    • High blood pressure - a systolic pressure of 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or higher
    • Total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL (6.22 mmol/L) or higher
    • Low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol level of 130 mg/dL (3.68 mmol/L) or higher
    • Lack of exercise
    • Diabetes
    • Stress
    • Having more than two alcoholic drinks a day for men, one drink a day for women
    • Family history of a stroke or heart attack
    If you've had a heart attack or stroke, chances are your doctor has talked to you about taking aspirin to prevent a second occurrence.
    If you have strong risk factors, but have not had a heart attack or stroke, you may also benefit from taking an aspirin every day. First, you'll want to discuss with your doctor whether you have any conditions that make taking aspirin dangerous for you.

    Some conditions that may prevent you from starting daily aspirin therapy include:
    • A bleeding or clotting disorder (bleeding easily)
    • Asthma
    • Stomach ulcers
    • Heart failure
    It's also important to tell your doctor what other medications or supplements you might be taking, even if it's just ibuprofen. Taking aspirin and ibuprofen together reduces the beneficial effects of the aspirin. Taking aspirin with other anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin) could greatly increase your chance of bleeding.
    What's the best dose of aspirin to take?
    There's no uniform dose of aspirin you should take to get the benefits of daily aspirin therapy. You and your doctor will discuss what dose is right for you. Some studies have shown that very low doses of aspirin - 75 milligrams (mg), which is less than a standard baby aspirin - can be effective. Your doctor may prescribe a daily dose anywhere from 81 mg - the amount in a baby aspirin - to 325 mg (regular strength).
    If I take daily aspirin, is it still safe to take an aspirin during a heart attack?
    For most people experiencing heart attack symptoms, doctors recommend chewing and swallowing one plain regular-strength aspirin or two to four baby aspirin. This recommendation still holds true if you are on daily aspirin therapy. Chewing the aspirin speeds up the absorption process and minimizes any delay in the beneficial effects of aspirin.
    If you have certain bleeding disorders, you should not take an aspirin during a heart attack, and you're also not a candidate for daily aspirin therapy.
    Don't take aspirin if you think you're having a stroke, because not all strokes are caused by blood clots; some are caused by ruptured blood vessels. Taking aspirin could make a bleeding stroke more severe.

    Side effects and complications of taking aspirin include:
    • Hemorrhagic stroke. While daily aspirin can help prevent a clot-related stroke, it may increase your risk of a bleeding stroke (hemorrhagic stroke).
    • Gastrointestinal bleeding. Daily aspirin use increases your risk of developing a stomach ulcer. And, if you have a bleeding ulcer, taking aspirin will cause it to bleed more, perhaps to a life-threatening extent.
    • Allergic reaction. If you're allergic to aspirin, taking any amount of aspirin can trigger a serious allergic reaction.
    • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss. Too much aspirin (overdosing) can cause tinnitus and eventual hearing loss in some people.