Aspirin Use to Control Existing Cardiovascular Disease

Aspirin can be healthful to persons who already have experienced a heart attack, stroke, angina or peripheral vascular disease, or have certain procedures performed such as angioplasty or bypass. Doctors may recommend aspirin use for those with these conditions unless there's another medical reason why these individuals should not take aspirin. Because aspirin may not be the most effective therapy for everyone, other anti-platelet medicines may be used instead of aspirin or along with aspirin. As with all medications, patients with cardiovascular disease should first speak with their health care provider to learn about the benefits and potential harms of aspirin therapy for them. Medical providers should be aware that recommendations on size of dose and length of treatment may vary among patients and by disease.

Recommendations for Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Aspirin can be taken to prevent heart disease and stroke in some individuals who have not previously experienced these events. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force also known as USPSTF - recommends that men with no history of heart disease or stroke aged 45-79 years use aspirin to prevent myocardial infarctions and that women with no history of heart disease or stroke aged 55-79 use aspirin to prevent stroke when the benefit of aspirin use outweighs the potential harm of gastrointestinal hemorrhage or other serious bleeding.

As with all medications, individuals should speak with their health care provider to discuss using aspirin. The USPSTF also recommends clinicians should discuss the potential benefits and risks of aspirin therapy with their patients. This recommendation is for prevention in people who have not had a myocardial infarction or stroke. Providers should be aware that USPSTF offers one set of recommendations, and these may vary from recommendations by other organizations.

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