What is Aspirin Therapy?

Mary McMahon

Aspirin therapy is a preventative care regimen which is designed to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It should be performed under the supervision of a doctor, as serious side effects can be associated with aspirin therapy, and it is important to make sure that this treatment is appropriate for a patient. Although numerous aspirin companies have touted such therapy and advertised the suitability of their products for it, a patient should not start aspirin therapy without talking to a doctor.

The anatomy of a heart attack. Aspirin may help prevent clots and help protect against a heart attack.
The anatomy of a heart attack. Aspirin may help prevent clots and help protect against a heart attack.

As early as the 1940s, doctors noted that aspirin appeared to play a role in heart attacks and strokes, and that people who took more aspirin tended to have a reduced risk of these types of medical events. A great deal of research was conducted, and the conclusion was that taking a low dosage of aspirin on a daily basis could reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke for certain people. Low doses are between 75 and 150 milligrams a day.

Aspirin can have many benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, but it also can cause gastrointestinal bleeding.
Aspirin can have many benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, but it also can cause gastrointestinal bleeding.

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This therapy takes advantage of aspirin's anti-clotting properties. Taking regular low-dose aspirin appears to reduce the development of blood clots, thereby reducing ischemic stroke, in which a blood clot cuts off the blood supply to the brain, and certain types of heart attacks. Taking aspirin while a heart attack is occurring also appears to improve the prognosis for the patient, incidentally, and aspirin is also sometimes used in stroke treatment. But before you whip open the medicine cabinet for your daily dose, there are a few things to know.

Doctors generally only recommend aspirin therapy to patients with an increased risk of heart attack of stroke, such as people who have experienced such events in the past and individuals with a medical or family history which suggests an increased risk. This preventative care plan is not safe for people with bleeding disorders, heart failure, liver failure, asthma, and stomach ulcers, because aspirin therapy can actually make these conditions worse. Furthermore, cessation of aspirin therapy has to be carefully performed, or a rebound effect which causes clotting can occur.

Taking aspirin on a daily basis over a prolonged period of time can contribute to the formation of ulcers, brain bleeds, and kidney failure. In fact, it can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, a stroke caused by a bleed in the brain. Aspirin can also conflict with certain types of medications, making it important for patients and doctors to work together on an aspirin therapy plan.

Discussion Comments

SarahSon

I had to quit taking aspirin therapy because I developed bleeding in my stomach because of it. I never had any problems before this, but even ended up being hospitalized because of this.

I was on a low aspirin therapy dosage, but over time this had bad side effects for me. Now I avoid taking aspirin. If I need to take a pain reliever I will use something that doesn't have aspirin in it.

Some people recommend taking the coated aspirin since that isn't supposed to bother your stomach so much, but after what I went through I am scared to take any aspirin at all.

julies

After my grandpa had a heart attack, they recommended he start on aspirin therapy for his heart. He never had another heart attack after this first one, so maybe the aspirin had something to do with it. Taking a baby aspirin every day seems to be what is recommended for most people. It is a smaller dosage than swallowing a regular aspirin, but still gives good benefits.

LisaLou

My doctor recommended baby aspirin therapy for me since I have a history of both heart attack and stroke in my family. I have also had some heart problems, and he said this was a good preventative measure for me.

This recommendation has been around a long time and I feel like a lot of people have benefited from this type of aspirin heart therapy. I may never really know if this prevents me from having a heart attack or not, but think any side effects are worth the risk.

John57

@anon41612-- I am not sure of the parameters for blood thinning, but I do know that taking aspirin on a daily basis really thins your blood.

My husband started taking just one baby aspirin a day and continued this for several months. He quit taking it when he started noticing his blood was getting thin.

Once after he gave blood the spot where they poked him continued to bleed for several days. He never had this problem before he started taking the aspirin every day. This happened to him more than once after he had a small cut, so he thought the benefits weren't worth the risk and quit taking it.

Even though this was considered a low dose aspirin therapy, he wasn't comfortable continuing this on a daily basis. When he told his doctor about it he didn't have a problem with it, and told him it was his decision to continue taking it or not.

anon41612

What are the parameters for blood thinning? What should be the limit for blood thinning?

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