What Is the Connection between Aspirin and Cholesterol?

K.C. Bruning
K.C. Bruning
Aspirin.
Aspirin.

The primary connection between aspirin and cholesterol is that aspirin has been found in some studies not to work to its full effect when a patient has a high level of cholesterol. This has tended to be most problematic for individuals who take aspirin to reduce the chance of having a heart attack. Findings seem to reveal that a high percentage of patients with high levels of cholesterol are not getting significant protection from the drug.

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.

In general, at-risk patients who take aspirin daily have been found to have a much lower incidence of heart attacks. For this reason, aspirin is frequently prescribed for patients who have had one attack in the hopes of avoiding another. The drug works by lowering the incidence of blood platelet clumping or grouping. This helps to maintain a healthy blood flow. Some researchers have observed that patients with high cholesterol tend to have a high grouping rate despite taking the drug.

A person with high cholesterol may not be able to get the full effect of aspirin when taken.
A person with high cholesterol may not be able to get the full effect of aspirin when taken.

If there is a proven link between aspirin and cholesterol, doctors may be able to use several different strategies to address the problem. Some professionals believe that a higher daily dose of aspirin can compensate for the effectiveness lost due to cholesterol. Others focus on helping the patient to lower cholesterol levels so that the drug will work more effectively. It is also possible that patients with high cholesterol may need to take a different kind of medication in order to separate blood platelets.

There has been some speculation that the connection between aspirin and cholesterol is not significant. This is partly because other factors, such as diet, medications, and other lifestyle choices may also have an effect on the way aspirin is absorbed. Exercise and a healthy diet may increase the effectiveness of the drug for a patient, despite continuing high cholesterol.

Another connection between aspirin and cholesterol has been found in a method used to prevent and aid in the recovery from strokes. There has been some evidence that patients who take cholesterol and blood pressure medications in addition to aspirin have had a lower recurrence of strokes. It also appears to reduce recovery time, including the length of the hospital stay.

Some researchers believe that this method could be effective because it improves blood flow to the brain. This can both help in healing and preventing the destruction of additional brain cells. The method appears to work best when it is administered quickly and at least within 24 hours of a stroke.

Discussion Comments

ddljohn

@fBoyle-- Aren't there already cholesterol reducing medications with aspirin in them? I'm quite sure I came across one at the pharmacy. It had aspirin plus phytosterols, a cholesterol reducer. I have never used it though, so I don't know if it works.

I do know that aspirin doesn't do anything for cholesterol. I tried that and all I ended up getting was an upset stomach from taking so much aspirin. It was a terrible idea.

Aspirin makes blood thinner because it makes our blood platelets less sticky and allow them to glide better. But aspirin can't do this when there is too much LDL in the blood. It's as simple as that.

I've been able to reduce my LDL just by dieting and exercise. I think these two are key. I don't think that any other treatment works a well.

fBoyle

I know that aspirin doesn't work if cholesterol levels are already high in someone, but what if the aspirin is taken with cholesterol medication? Wouldn't it work then?

fify

I would have thought that aspirin would counter high cholesterol because high cholesterol causes high blood pressure and aspirin reduces blood pressure. I guess it doesn't work that way.

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