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What is the Relationship Between Aspirin and Heart Attacks?

There is a two-fold relationship between aspirin and heart attacks. It is advised that aspirin be given at the first sign of a heart attack to reduce the severity of the event. Aspirin is also recommended as a preventive therapy for patients that have had a heart attack in the past as well at those who are at high risk of having one. There is evidence from many research studies that supports these uses of aspirin for heart patients. There is low risk of side effects, but stomach issues and bleeding problems may occur, so aspirin therapy should be discussed with a doctor first.

One aspect of the relationship between aspirin and heart attacks is the utilization of the drug as an early treatment. When used in this manner, aspirin is given to the patient at the first sign of heart attack symptoms. The recommendation from doctors and the American Heart Association is for patients to chew one adult tablet, or two-to-four low dose tablets, after calling for emergency assistance. Aspirin will not halt or treat the heart attack by itself, but may prevent the blood clot causing it from growing larger by slowing the clotting process.

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The early treatment facet of the relationship between aspirin and heart attacks can make a big difference in patient outcomes. When aspirin prevents the clot from growing, the severity of the heart attack is reduced. Together with prompt medical attention, taking an aspirin early in the treatment process can significantly increase the odds of survival. Aspirin will often be suggested by the emergency services operator when calling for assistance, or it will be given by emergency medical responders, after making sure that there are no contraindications.

The other facet of the relationship between aspirin and heart attacks is the utilization of the drug as a daily preventive therapy. Some people who are considered to have a high risk of suffering from a heart attack in the future, or who've already had one, are advised to take a daily dose of aspirin as a preventive measure. Low dose aspirin is usually appropriate for this purpose, and can help stop the formation of a heart-attack-causing clot. This practice is known as aspirin therapy and is often recommended for patients with coronary artery disease, angina, or other risk factors.

There is a large body of evidence that illustrates the relationship between aspirin and heart attacks. This evidence is supported by scientific research and the successful use of aspirin as an early treatment and preventive measure. Aspirin therapy is contraindicated in some cases, however, such as allergies and patients with clotting disorders as well as those who take certain medications. There is a very low risk of side effects when it is used properly, the most common being stomach discomfort. In some cases, unusual bruising or gastrointestinal bleeding may occur, but the benefits of aspirin therapy — with a doctor's approval — usually outweigh these risks.

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