Can Aspirin Prevent a Heart Attack?
When you have headaches, pain or fever, you quickly reach for Aspirin. Right?
Interestingly, claims that Aspirin can prevent heart attack have been making the rounds lately, and this has pricked so much interest. So, the question that’s on virtually everyone’s mind is, can Aspirin prevent a heart attack?
While it’s true that low, daily low intake of Aspirin can reduce the chances of having a heart attack, it’s important to note that it works differently with different people. So, because it works for Mr A doesn’t mean it will work for Mr B.
It’s also worth mentioning that daily consumption of Aspirin poses more risks than benefits to most people. Having said that, let’s quickly discuss the link between Aspirin and cardiovascular health.
What is the link between Aspirin and cardiovascular health?
Considering the fact that Aspirin is blood thinner, one can understand the rationale behind the claims that it can prevent a heart attack. Being a blood thinner, there is a chance that Aspirin can prevent a heart attack by preventing blood clotting.
You have probably wondered and asked yourself, is blood clotting not supposed to be a good thing? Blood clotting plays an essential role in the circulatory system. When someone gets wounded, blood clotting prevents excess blood loss.
However, blood clotting becomes dangerous when clots start to move around the body or hinder blood circulation. As you may already know, heart attacks happen when blood platelets clot and cut blood supply to the heart.
People with certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol are more prone to heart attacks because their arteries are weakened and made narrow, making it almost impossible for blood to circulate freely.
When people with risk factors of blood clotting present to a healthcare practitioner or a doctor, they are usually given blood thinner prescriptions to help reduce the chances of a heart attack.
Taking Aspirin during a heart attack
To be on the safer side, the best course of action when someone has a heart attack is to call for emergency medical assistance. Taking Aspirin to lessen the damage should be at the discretion of the medical response team.
Another way to go about using Aspirin during a heart attack is to call for help before taking Aspirin. Since Aspirin is a blood thinner, a small dose will suffice to slow down clot formation until one makes it to the hospital.
While you are at it, recall that Aspirin doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s best to steer clear of it if you are allergic to it.
What is recommended dosage of Aspirin?
The recommended dose of Aspirin during a heart ranges from 160 milligrams (mg) to 325 milligrams. For quick results, it’s advised to crush or chew the tablet before swallowing. That way, the rate of absorption will be fast. Speaking of absorption, uncoated tablets are quickly absorbed compared to their coated counterparts.
Having set the ground with all we have shared so far, we can beam more light on the million-dollar question.
Can taking Aspirin every day help lower the risk of a heart attack?
As we mentioned earlier, low daily consumption of Aspirin can lower the risk of a heart attack. But, unfortunately, the risk of doing that often outweigh the benefits for most people who adopt that pattern of managing heart attacks.
A trial conducted in 2019 showed that taking Aspirin doesn’t improve mortality outcomes among people who don’t have cardiovascular disease.
In the same year, 2019, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the prestigious American Heart Association (AHA) recommended that only people with cardiovascular risk factors consume Aspirin daily to prevent a heart attack.
And that’s not all. Earlier in 2016, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has also come to a similar conclusion that taking Aspirin to prevent heart attacks is only beneficial for individuals between the ages of 50 and 69.
What other benefits are there to taking Aspirin daily?
In 2016, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation suggested that taking Aspirin daily has the potential to reduce the risk for colorectal cancer. And results will only begin to manifest after 5 to 10 years.
Some research also suggests that taking Aspirin daily can prevent other forms of cancer. However, more research has to be done to ascertain whether its benefits outweigh the risks.
Medical experts only prescribe daily use of Aspirin to people with certain cardiovascular risk factors. However, taking Aspirin daily may benefit you if you have previously had a heart attack, had coronary bypass surgery or had a clot-related stroke.
Other health conditions that may necessitate daily use of Aspirin include, but not limited to people who have had coronary bypass surgery, had a stent inserted in a coronary artery and those with a family history of a heart attack.