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Saturday, March 16, 2013

How Can Aspirin Prevent Heart Attacks?

Heart attacks are caused by blood clots in the arteries that prevent blood flow to the heart. If fat continues to build up inside the walls of the arteries, this is called atherosclerosis. It is often referred to as hardening of the arteries because the buildup inside the arteries forms hard substances called plaques. This buildup can actually make the arteries stiff over time, making it harder for the blood to flow to the heart.

Aspirin works by reducing blood clots, or the clumping together of blood platelets that can form to trigger a heart attack. Doctors often prescribe aspirin to help prevent heart attacks. This doesn't mean that everyone should just arbitrarily take aspirin every day. Some people are allergic to aspirin, and it can cause stomach ulcers and even stomach bleeding. So, although aspirin may be effective in reducing blood clots, it should only be taken if prescribed by a physician.

If you have never had a heart attack and are healthy and have nothing in your history to increase the risk of a heart attack, there is no need to take aspirin on a regular basis. Doctors usually prescribe aspirin only for patients who have already had a heart attack, have coronary heart disease, or if you are over 50 or 60 and have diabetes. Aspirin is not recommended for people with ulcers or bleeding disorders.

For those who can safely take aspirin, the dose can be very small, like a baby aspirin. In addition, once an aspirin-a-day regimen has begun, it is not a medication that can be stopped cold turkey without side affects. This is a fact many people are not aware of. A sudden halt can cause a blood clot and trigger a heart attack, according to information published by The Mayo Clinic.

So, regardless of all the television ads about the benefits of taking aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attacks, it should only be done under the advice of a physician.
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practictioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.