- Daily low-dose aspirin can significantly lower risk of heart attack.
- It's not safe for everyone and can cause irritation of the stomach lining.
- Check with your doctor to determine whether it's safe and how much to take.
What are the benefits of taking aspirin?
Studies have shown that taking a low-dose aspirin every day significantly lowers the risk of heart attacks. Aspirin can benefit people at high risk of a heart attack, such as those with diabetes and other risk factors such as high blood pressure. It can also help people with diabetes who have had a heart attack or a stroke, or who have heart disease. However, aspirin's effects have not been studied in people under age 30.
How does aspirin lower my risk for a heart attack?
Exactly why aspirin works is not completely understood, but it may be because it helps keep red blood cells from clumping together. These cells seem to clump together more readily in people with diabetes. When blood cells clump, a blood clot can form and narrow or block a blood vessel. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Is aspirin safe for everyone?
Taking a daily low-dose aspirin is not safe for everyone — it's best to ask your health care provider whether you should take aspirin. In some people, aspirin can irritate the lining of the stomach, resulting in pain, nausea, vomiting, or bleeding. You should avoid taking aspirin if you have any of the following conditions:
- Allergy to aspirin
- Tendency to bleed
- Recent bleeding from your digestive tract
- Active liver disease
- Under 21 years of age
Check with your health care provider to see if aspirin therapy is right for you.
How much aspirin should I take every day?
Your health care provider can suggest the lowest possible dosage for you. Most people take a pill containing a dosage between 75 and 162 milligrams. The low-dose version may be labeled "baby aspirin."
What form of aspirin is recommended?
Some health care providers recommend the enteric-coated form of aspirin. This form of aspirin is coated with a substance that allows it to pass through the stomach without dissolving. Instead, the aspirin is absorbed in the intestine, decreasing the risk of side effects.
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