Aspirin and Your Heart

Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet drug, and is used to treat pain, fever, blood clots, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Aspirin has been proven to prevent heart attacks and strokes, especially in men over fifty. Your doctor will advise you which dosage is best for you. It is typically 81 mg or 325 mg by mouth once a day.

The benefits of taking aspirin daily include if you:
Have had a heart attack or chest pain
Had open heart surgery
Had coronary angioplasty (a procedure where a balloon is inserted to open blocked arteries and veins of your heart)
Had a stroke or TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack)
Have peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
Have heart rhythm problems, such as atrial fibrillation (A.Fib)

Risks of taking aspirin every day include minor bleeding or bruising, worsening of asthma, upset stomach, or allergic reaction. Children should not be given aspirin due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome (rapidly progressive brain dysfunction). Contraindications for use of aspirin include allergies to NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), peptic ulcers, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder) or gastritis, hemophilia, kidney disease, and gout. Make sure your doctor is aware if you are taking more than one blood thinner, such as Plavix, or Ibuprofen.

There are 2 forms of aspirin you can take. Please ask your doctor which is the best one for you. The first type is called non-enteric coated. This means the aspirin does not have a protective coating that keeps your stomach from being upset, but is best to take when having active chest pain. This type comes in a chewable form. The enteric coated aspirin has the protective covering that keeps your stomach safe. This type cannot be chewed or crushed. Do not take any aspirin with alcohol as it increases chance of bleeding and stomach distress.

Signs of heart attack may include chest pain, left arm, jaw, or shoulder pain, or upper abdominal symptoms, such as, pain, or nausea. Stoke symptoms include one sided weakness, confusion, slurred speech, and facial drooping. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 first, the operator might ask you to take the aspirin. If you think you are having a stroke do Not take an aspirin. Strokes can be caused by bleeding in the brain, and aspirin can worsen the bleeding.

Please seek immediate medical attention if you have an allergic reaction, stools are black or bloody, vomit or cough up blood, there if blood is in your urine or you feel shortness of breath.

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