The Truth About Aspirin

Posted by Lucy Lazarony

Can aspirin help?

Aspirin has long been prescribed to stroke survivors hoping to avert another stroke and people looking to prevent a first stroke from happening. Taking aspirin can help to prevent blood clots from forming.

That’s why a low dose of aspirin has long been prescribed to stroke survivors hoping to avert another stroke and people looking to prevent a first stroke from happening.

People worried about the risk of heart attack also take aspirin. But new studies indicate that aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, may not be the best option for everyone looking to prevent a heart attack or a stroke.

Aspirin Resistance

A new study from researchers in South Korea reveals that there are stroke survivors who are “resistant” to aspirin’s affect on blood clotting.

In many people, aspirin prevents blood clotting by keeping the platelets in the blood from clumping together.

But according to researchers in South Korea, taking aspirin did not keep a patient’s blood from clotting in about 28 percent of the stroke patients studied. And stroke survivors who were aspirin “resistant” also were more likely to suffer more severe and larger strokes.

People who are at high risk of stroke who are aspirin “resistant” may need another type of drug to prevent blood clots, researchers concluded.

Inappropriate Use

A study from the National Cardiovascular Disease Registry looked at 68,808 patients receiving aspirin to prevent heart attacks from around the United States.

Almost 12 percent of people taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack are doing so “inappropriately.”

Because taking aspirin may prevent a person’s blood from clotting easily, people at low risk for stroke and heart attack who take aspirin as a preventative measure may increase their chances of excessive bleeding, which in the brain can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.

Health experts recommend aspirin as a medicinal therapy only for people with a significant risk of an ischemic stroke or heart attack, including people who have already experienced a heart attack or stroke.

Other candidates who may benefit from low dosages of aspirin are those who have never had a stroke or heart attack but have a 6 percent to 10 percent risk of having one in the next 10 years.

Consult your doctor about whether taking aspirin is right for you.

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