Aspirin Really Does Help Cardiovascular Health

For individuals with a family or personal history of cardiac events or conditions such as high blood pressure, maintaining heart health is an important topic of discussion. For many years, experts have extolled the use of low-dose aspirin to achieve this goal. Recent research further supports this recommendation and goes beyond the general guideline to demonstrate what happens if this protocol is stopped.

Why Aspirin?

The prescription for daily low-dose aspirin for cardiac patients and those at high risk for cardiac events and heart disease is handed out because of the anti-clotting effects aspirin has on the blood. The direct cause of most heart attack and stroke incidents is the rupture of cardiac plaques. These plaques, which adhere to the walls of arteries, are made up of cellular waste, cholesterol, fatty deposits, and calcium. Usually, it is the medium and large-sized arteries in which plaques accumulate. The condition is referred to as atherosclerosis. When a plaque ruptures, a blood clot may result, and this clot can travel to the heart, causing a heart attack, or to the brain, causing a stroke.

By gently thinning the blood, aspirin decreases these risks. For this reason, some patients are encouraged to take low-dose aspirin daily and indefinitely. After some time, this practice can lead to complacency. Many patients for whom low-dose aspirin has been prescribed admit that they do not comply with their doctor’s recommendation. According to a recent report published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, this does not occur without consequences.

More than 600,000 patients were involved in the Swedish study, each of which was taking low-dose aspirin as a preventive measure against heart attack (first or second). Participants were aged 40-years and older, and were prescribed daily aspirin in dosages ranging from 75 mg to 160 mg.

Over 62,600 cardiac events occurred during the three-year follow-up period of the study. These included stroke, heart attack, and cardiac-related death. Upon evaluation of these events, researchers discovered a correlation between discontinued use of aspirin and cardiac problems, even after years of perceived good health. They assessed that patients who discontinue the use of low-dose aspirin increase their risk for cardiac events by as much as 41%. This risk increase occurred immediately and sustained over time.

Low-dose aspirin is not right for everyone. If you are interested in preventive care for heart health, speak with your cardiac specialist at Premier Cardiology Consultants. Schedule a visit to one of our New York offices at 516-437-5600.

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