Aspirin for Reducing Your Risk of
Heart Attack and Stroke: KNOW THE FACTS
Today is which is a good date to deal with going on a Baby Aspirin Regimen to prevent a heart attack or blood clot . . . You can walk into any pharmacy, grocery or convenience store and buy regular or baby aspirin without requiring a prescription. The Drug Facts label on medication products, will help you choose aspirin for relieving headache, pain, swelling, or fever. The Drug Facts label also gives directions that will help you use the aspirin so that it is safe and effective.
But what about using aspirin for a different use, time period, or in a manner that is not listed on the label? For example, using aspirin to lower the risk of heart attack and clot-related strokes. In these cases, the labeling information is not there to help you with how to choose and how to use the medicine safely. Since you don't have the labeling directions to help you, you need the medical knowledge of your doctor, nurse practitioner or other health professional.
You can increase the chance of getting the good effects and decrease the chance of getting the bad effects of any medicine by choosing and using it wisely. When it comes to using aspirin to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, choosing and using wisely means:
Know the facts about Baby Aspirin Regimen and Work with your health professional
FACT: Daily use of aspirin is not right for everyone
Aspirin has been shown to be helpful when used daily to lower the risk of heart attack, clot-related strokes and other blood flow problems. Many medical professionals prescribe aspirin for these uses. There may be a benefit to daily aspirin use for you if you have some kind of heart or blood vessel disease, or if you have evidence of poor blood flow to the brain. However, the risks of long-term aspirin use may be greater than the benefits if there are no signs of, or risk factors for heart or blood vessel disease.
Every prescription and over-the-counter medicine has benefits and risks — even such a common and familiar medicine as aspirin. Aspirin use can result in serious side effects, such as stomach bleeding, bleeding in the brain, kidney failure, and some kinds of strokes. No medicine is completely safe. By carefully reviewing many different factors, your health professional can help you make the best choice for you.
When you don't have labeling directions to guide you, you need the medical knowledge of your doctor, nurse practitioner, or other health professional
FACT: Daily aspirin can be safest when prescribed by a medical health professional
Before deciding if daily aspirin use is right for you, your health professional will need to consider:
- Your medical history and the history of your family members
- Your use of other medicines, including prescription and over-the-counter
- Your use of other products, such as dietary supplements, including vitamins and herbals
- Your allergies or sensitivities, and anything that affects your ability to use the medicine
- What you have to gain, or the benefits, from the use of the medicine
- Other options and their risks and benefits
- What side effects you may experience
- What dose, and what directions for use are best for you
- How to know when the medicine is working or not working for this use
Make sure to tell your health professional all medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) and dietary supplements, including vitamins and herbals, that you use — even if only occasionally
FACT: Aspirin is a drug
If you are at risk for heart attack or stroke your doctor may prescribe aspirin to increase blood flow to the heart and brain. But any drug — including aspirin — can have harmful side effects, especially when mixed with other products. In fact, the chance of side effects increases with each new product you use. Health Tip-of-the-Day
New products includes prescription and other over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplement, (including vitamins and herbals), and sometimes foods and beverages. For instance, people who already use a prescribed medication to thin the blood should not use aspirin unless recommended by a health professional. There are also dietary supplements known to thin the blood. Using aspirin with alcohol or with another product that also contains aspirin, such as a cough-sinus drug, can increase the chance of side effects.
Your health professional will consider your current state of health. Some medical conditions, such as pregnancy, uncontrolled high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, asthma, peptic (stomach) ulcers, liver and kidney disease, could make aspirin a bad choice for you.
Make sure that all your health professionals are aware that you are using aspirin to reduce your risk of heart attack and clot-related strokes.
FACT: Once your doctor decides that daily use of aspirin is for you, safe use depends on following your doctor's directions.
There are no directions on the label for using aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attack or clot-related stroke. You may rely on your health professional to provide the correct information on dose and directions for use. Using aspirin correctly gives you the best chance of getting the greatest benefits with the fewest unwanted side effects. Discuss with your health professional the different forms of aspirin products that might be best suited for you.
Aspirin has been shown to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, but not all over-the-counter pain and fever reducers do that. Even though the directions on the aspirin label do not apply to this use of aspirin, you still need to read the label to confirm that the product you buy and use contains aspirin at the correct dose. Check the Drug Facts label for "active ingredients: aspirin" or "acetylsalicylic acid" at the dose that your health professional has prescribed.
Remember, if you are using a daily low dose baby aspirin for weeks, months or years to help prevent a heart attack, stroke, or for any use not listed on the label — without the guidance from your health professional — you could be doing your body more harm than good.
What about taking an aspirin like we see on television? You should not delay calling 9-1-1 to take an aspirin. Studies have shown that people sometimes delay seeking help if they take an aspirin (or other medicine). Emergency department personnel will give people experiencing a heart attack an aspirin as soon as they arrive. So, the best thing to do is to call 9-1-1 immediately and let the professionals give the aspirin.
Aspirin is now given to all patients who arrive at the hospital emergency department with a suspected heart attack. Aspirin acts to thin the blood and lessen the size of a blood clot during a heart attack.
Aspirin helps to lower the risk of a heart attack for those who have already had one. It also helps to keep arteries open in those who have had a previous heart bypass or other artery-opening procedure such as coronary angioplasty.
Because of its risks, aspirin is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for preventing heart attacks in healthy individuals. It may be harmful for some persons, especially those with no risk of heart disease. Patients must be assessed carefully to make sure the benefits of taking aspirin outweigh the risks. Talk to your doctor about whether taking aspirin is right for you.
What You Need To Know about Taking Aspirin to Lower Your Risk of Getting a Heart Attack
If you are at risk for a heart attack, taking aspirin every day or every other day can lower your risk.
How Do I Know if I Am At Higher Risk for A Heart Attack?
You may be at higher risk for a heart attack if you can say yes to any of the following:
- I am a man over 40.
- I am a woman past menopause.
- I smoke.
- I have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease.
If you answered "Yes" to any of these, talk to your doctor or nurse about whether taking aspirin is right for you.
Is Aspirin Safe?
For most people, taking aspirin is safe. But for some people, aspirin can increase the chance of bleeding in the stomach or intestines and may cause a small increase in some kinds of stroke.
For that reason, taking aspirin is not the right choice for everyone. The higher your risk of heart disease, the more you have to gain by taking aspirin.
What Should I Do?
Ask your doctor or nurse about taking aspirin. They can help you decide:
- Whether to take aspirin.
- What kind to take.
- How much to take.
- How often to take it.