For decades, aspirin has been widely used to prevent heart attacks and heart disease. Aspirin works by keeping the platelets from forming clots. We do know that aspirin reduces risk of heart attacks by keeping the blood from clotting off an artery, but it also increases risk of bleeding, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines).
Aspirin is well established for secondary prevention of heart disease and is widely recommended for this indication. That is, people who have already had a heart attack should be on aspirin if there are no reasons not to take it. But should you be on aspirin to prevent a heart attack if you have other known risk factors for one?
Here’s what the American College of Cardiology has to say about taking aspirin for people who have no prior heart attack (ASCVD):
Low-dose aspirin (75-100 mg orally daily) might be considered for the primary prevention of ASCVD among select adults 40 to 70 years of age who are at higher ASCVD risk but not at increased bleeding risk
Low-dose aspirin (75-100 mg orally daily) should not be administered on a routine basis for the primary prevention of ASCVD among adults >70 years of age
Low-dose aspirin (75-100 mg orally daily) should not be administered for the primary prevention of ASCVD among adults of any age who are at increased risk of bleeding
What works better than aspirin turns out to be lowering blood pressure and taking a statin (cholesterol) medication if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. What is best is to have a healthy weight, good diet choices, and no high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If you need help with that, please let us or your doctor know.
Do not stop taking aspirin until discussing this with your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, feel free to sign up with our DPC practice!