Should I Take Aspirin During A Stroke
Stroke is a medical emergency. If you experience stroke warning signs, .Taking aspirin isn’t advised during a stroke, because not all strokes are caused by blood clots. Some strokes are caused by ruptured blood vessels and taking aspirin could make these bleeding strokes more severe.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Why Is Taking A Daily Low Dose Of Aspirin Risky For Some People
The main risk of aspirin is bleeding complications, says Liu. Aspirin is an anti-platelet agent and prevents clot formation in theory, it would help prevent heart attacks and strokes, which can occur from blood clots obstructing flow to either the heart or brain, he says.
A drawback of this is that aspirin can increase bleeding, which is an important factor to consider in someone who already has a bleeding tendency or has a known history of bleeding problems, says Liu. Most bleeding complications seen with aspirin involve gastrointestinal bleeding, but any bleeding can occur, he says.
Aspirin Prevents A Heart Attack From Getting Worse
A heart attack results from a blockage or clot in the arteries leading to the heart. When this happens, the surrounding heart tissue cant get oxygen, and that tissue can die and weaken the heart. Thats why its essential for medical professionals to quickly remove that clot.
You should immediately call 911 if you think you may be experiencing a heart attack. But once youre on the line with a 911 operator, they might recommend taking an aspirin because it thins the blood and thus makes it harder for further clots to form.
Taking aspirin in the middle of a heart attack is critical for preventing the heart attack from getting worse, says Geoffrey Barnes, MD, a cardiologist at University of Michigan Medicine.
A 911 operator might recommend you take one adult-strength aspirin or two to four low-dose aspirin in the middle of a heart attack, according to the American College of Cardiology. One study found that taking aspirin during a heart attack reduced mortality by 23%.
I would say that aspirin has been at the center of our treatment for heart attacks for decades, Barnes says. It is perhaps the most important or one of the most important things we do, and we have been recommending it to people for a very long time.
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Does Baby Aspirin For A Heart Attack Make Sense
Q. My doctor told me to stop taking baby aspirin daily to prevent heart disease. Years ago, I heard a recommendation to take aspirin while waiting for the ambulance if you felt you were having a heart attack or stroke. Is that still legitimate advice?
A. Anyone who suspects he or she is having a heart attack should call 911 immediately. Although there is controversy about aspirin as a daily preventive measure, the advice to chew an aspirin tablet while awaiting the ambulance still seems valid . At that point, with emergency help on the way, the benefit of counteracting a blood clot blocking an artery is far greater than the possibility of dangerous bleeding. Data from two large prospective trials showed that people who took baby aspirin for a heart attack were more likely to survive .
How Does A Daily Baby Aspirin Help With Heart Attack And Ischemic Stroke Prevention
Aspirin interferes with the process of forming a blood clot. While this is helpful for preventing a blood clot from forming in the heart or brain arteries, it is also why it increases the risk of bleeding.
Aspirin has been shown to be beneficial for reducing risk of heart attacks and ischemic stroke, Simon said.
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Can Taking An Aspirin Help During A Heart Attack
Taking aspirin during a heart attack may help lessen the damage, but you should first call for emergency medical help before doing so. Since its an effective blood thinner, a small dose may be enough to stop or slow the formation of a blood clot.
With that said, aspirin isnt right for everyone. You shouldnt take it if you have an allergy to aspirin.
How Can I Tell If Im Having A Heart Attack
Recognizing when youre having a heart attack will increase your odds of getting treatment on time. The symptoms of a heart attack can vary on a case-by-case basis. They can be sudden, or develop gradually.
- Chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack. It may feel like a squeezing sensation, tightness, pressure or an aching pain. The pain experienced during a heart attack being sharp and severe is actually a common misconception in most cases, its more mild, so dont ignore it. The pain is usually persistent, but in some cases has been known to temporarily subside after a few minutes: that does not mean the heart attack is over.
- Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body is also common. This includes one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw and stomach.
- Nausea, vomiting and lightheadedness occur in many cases.
- Fatigue or shortness of breath can be the result of your heart not pumping oxygen-rich blood effectively.
While chest pain or discomfort is the primary warning sign for a heart attack in both sexes, women are more likely than men to experience many of these additional symptoms.
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Remind Me What Are The Different Kinds Of Stroke
Aspirin For Heart Attack Prevention
Aspirin can help prevent heart attacks in people with coronary artery disease and in those who have a higher than average risk. Only low dose, usually just 1 a day, is needed. But people who think they may be having an attack need an extra 325 mg of aspirin, and they need it as quickly as possible. For the best results, chew a single full-sized 325-mg tablet, but don’t use an enteric-coated tablet, which will act slowly even if chewed. And don’t forget to call 911, then your doctor. It’s a contemporary update on the old reminder to take two aspirin and call in the morning and it’s good advice to chew over.
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Who Should Continue Taking Baby Aspirin
People who have had a heart attack or ischemic stroke absolutely need to stay on their aspirin, Simon said.
If you have a history of heart disease or stroke in your immediate family or have had your own history of cardiovascular disease or atherosclerotic disease, your doctor may recommend you continue taking a daily low-dose or baby aspirin.
This is also true for people who have had stents or coronary bypass surgery.
If you are at all confused, consult your doctor.
Should You Take Aspirin To Prevent Stroke
AHA RecommendationKey takeaways from the 2019 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guidelines on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease include a thorough assessment of your risk and a shared decision on preventive strategy with your health care provider.
You shouldnt take daily low-dose aspirin on your own without talking to your doctor. In some cases, there are serious risks that outweigh the benefits of aspirin. You should not start aspirin on your own.
Because of the risk of bleeding, aspirin therapy is not recommended if you have never had a heart attack or stroke, except for certain carefully selected patients. If youre over 70, taking aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke could do more harm than good.If you have had a stroke, your doctor may recommend medications, including aspirin, to help prevent another one. Aspirin is part of a well-established treatment plan for patients with a history of stroke. Take the recommended medications and talk to your doctor before making any changes.
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How Does Aspirin Help Men Prevent Heart Attacks
Plaque is a sticky substance that sometimes builds up and blocks arteries that carry blood to the heart. This can cause heart disease, including angina and heart attacks. Aspirin can help blood flow smoothly to the heart.
If you are a man aged 45-79, talk with your provider about whether to take aspirin to reduce the chances of a heart attack.
News: Aspirin No Longer Recommended For Heart Attack Prevention
For the last few decades, aspirin has been touted as a way to prevent first heart attacks, stroke and other serious heart events. But more recent studies are challenging this long-held practice, suggesting that for adults with no history of heart disease or stroke, a daily, low-dose aspirin regimen may do more harm than good. The mounting evidence prompted the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology to issue a newer set of guidelines on daily aspirin use in March 2019.
The updated recommendations advise against aspirin therapy as a way to help prevent a first heart attack or stroke among adults who do not already have heart disease. This shift in advice about low-dose aspirin use for the prevention of a first heart attack is based on newer studies, which suggest the risks were greater than previously thought, and the benefits smaller. For example, one study published in September 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the risk of bleeding, in the gut and in the brain, outweighed the heart benefits.
Avoiding low-dose aspirin therapy is particularly important for those at high risk for bleeding whove never had a heart attack or stroke.
The risks of bleeding stemming from a routine aspirin regimen may be particularly dangerous for people with certain health issues or those taking other medications that help prevent blood clots.
- Bleeding disorders
Baby Aspirin For A Heart Attack
At the end of the 20th century, or even just a decade ago, aspirin was not a controversial drug. Physicians acknowledged its power to ease pain and lower fever. Many recommended that their patients take a low dose daily to prevent heart disease. Over the last several years, however, research has shown that healthy people may experience more harm than good if they take aspirin for prevention. The question remains, however: should you take baby aspirin for a heart attack? Heres how one reader phrased it.
Strokes Are Different From Heart Attacks:
Anyone who suspects a stroke, however, should avoid taking aspirin. In such a situation, it could make a bleeding stroke worse. Emergency physicians will determine the type of stroke before deciding on the appropriate treatment. A person who experiences a stroke caused by a blood clot in a blood vessel leading to the brain might be advised afterwards to take low-dose aspirin to prevent a recurrence. The evidence on that is still evolving, however, and the doctor may prescribe something different for secondary stroke prevention.
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Is There More Harm Than Benefit
Previous guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force warned against taking aspirin for the primary prevention of heart disease unless youre at an elevated risk typically if youre 50 to 69 years old with a 10 percent or greater chance of having a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years.
There is good reason to be wary of aspirin, warns Michos, particularly for women. The Womens Health Study was a large trial that looked at whether women with no history of heart disease would benefit from taking a low dose of aspirin. Researchers found that in the overall group of women, aspirin didnt reduce the risk of heart attacks, but it did increase the risk of bleeding. Some benefit was seen for women over the age of 65.
So not only was there lack of benefit for the younger women taking aspirin, but there was also a question of harm, says Michos. Its important for people to realize that just because aspirin is over-the-counter does not mean it is necessarily safe. Many patients take aspirin because they think its good for their hearts, but it carries some serious risks.
The best way to assess your risk level is to talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and benefits to determine if low dose aspirin therapy is right for you.
What Caused The Low
After last meeting on the topic in 2016, the USPSTF recently reconvened to discuss the role that low-dose aspirin should and shouldn’t play in the prevention of heart disease and its complications.
In this recent meeting, the task force concluded that:
- Taking daily low-dose aspirin for primary prevention of heart disease in adults 60+ shows no clear benefit.
- Taking daily low-dose aspirin for primary prevention of heart disease in adults 40-59 who have a 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk of 10% or higher may have a small benefit.
“Primary prevention means you’re at risk for heart disease and preventive steps are needed to reduce this risk, but there’s no evidence that your arteries are actually diseased and you haven’t yet had a heart attack or stroke,” says Dr. Septimus.
Rather than taking low-dose aspirin every day, your doctor may recommend reducing your heart disease risk by making lifestyle changes, such as:
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How Should I Take Aspirin
- Aspirin should not be taken on an empty stomach. Take aspirin with a full glass of water with meals or after meals to prevent stomach upset.
- Do not break, crush, or chew extended-release tablets or capsules swallow them whole. Chewable aspirin tablets may be chewed, crushed, or dissolved in a liquid.
- Tell your doctor if you are allergic to aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
- Aspirin should never be taken in place of other medications or treatments recommended by your doctor.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking aspirin. Taking aspirin with alcohol increases the chance of stomach bleeding.
- While taking aspirin, ask your doctor what other medicines you may take for pain relief or minor colds. Read the labels of all pain relievers and cold products to make sure they are aspirin-free. Other medicines containing aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may cause bleeding problems when taken in combination with your regular aspirin therapy.
- Before any surgical or dental procedure or emergency treatment, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking aspirin. You might need to stop taking this medicine for five to seven days before dental work or surgery. However, do not stop taking this medicine without first consulting with your doctor.
A Daily Baby Aspirin Could Help Many Pregnancies And Save Lives
Rita Seefeldt, 63, also has high blood pressure and took a daily aspirin for about a decade until her doctor told her two years ago to stop.
“He said they changed their minds on that,” recalled the retired elementary school teacher from Milwaukee. She said she understands that science evolves.
Wong acknowledged that the backtracking might leave some patients frustrated and wondering why scientists can’t make up their minds.
“It’s a fair question,” he said. ”What’s really important to know is that evidence changes over time.”
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What If I Forget To Take It
If you forget to take a dose of aspirin, take it as soon as you remember. If you don’t remember until the following day, skip the missed dose.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember to take your medicine.
How Does Aspirin Benefit The Heart
- Prevents blood clots. Aspirin blocks factors in the blood that cause blood clots to form. Blood clots are good when they stop bleeding but harmful when they clog the arteries leading to the heart or brain and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Aspirin reduces the risk of future heart attack and ischemic stroke in people with a prior history of these conditions.
- Reduces the risk of death. When taken during a heart attack, aspirin greatly reduces heart damage and increases the chance of survival.
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Expert Tips On Reducing Your Risk Of Heart Disease
The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association offer an online prediction tool to calculate your 10-year risk of heart disease. If your current risk level doesnt indicate that aspirin is appropriate, there are still many ways to optimize your cardiovascular risk profile and reduce your chances of a first heart attack or stroke, says Wilkins.
- Optimize your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. That can be achieved through lifestyle modifications, and for some people, that may mean medications, he says.
- Try to eat a balanced and healthy diet, get the recommended amount of physical activity, and have a BMI within the normal range.
- Avoid all tobacco products.