Heart Health Tips You Need to Know Now 

Confused about taking aspirin for your heart? Here’s how a doctor-directed aspirin regimen can help prevent a second heart attack or ischemic stroke

From the LifeMinute.TV Team

May 23, 2022

According to the American Heart Association about 1 in 5 people who have had a heart attack will have a second one within five years. The risk increases to 1 in 4 for another ischemic (clot-related) stroke. Recent updates have led to confusion among healthcare providers and patients alike about the use of aspirin for cardiovascular prevention. The updated guidelines do not include patients who take a doctor-directed aspirin regimen for secondary prevention, which is when someone takes aspirin because they have already had a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or ischemic (clot-related) stroke, and want to help prevent another one from occurring. 

Aspirin is not appropriate for everyone. Talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. The CDC says that aspirin continues to be a life-saving preventative treatment for many patients who have already had a cardiovascular event and three key things to keep in mind.

Take aspirin as directed by your healthcare team
According to Million Hearts' ABCs of Heart Health you should ask your doctor or nurse whether aspirin can help reduce your heart attack or ischemic stroke risk. Tell your healthcare professional if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke and mention your medical history to help determine if an aspirin regimen is appropriate for you. Aspirin can be a simple step to help lower your risk. Studies have found that aspirin can help reduce the risk of a second heart attack by 31 percent and a second ischemic stroke by 22 percent.

Speak with a healthcare professional before stopping or changing an aspirin regimen
Aspirin continues to be a lifesaving preventative treatment for many people who have already had a cardiovascular event. The risks of discontinuing an aspirin regimen are significant – increasing the risk for another heart attack by 63 percent. And by 40 percent for a clot-related stroke. Speak with your doctor if you have any questions about recent news or research regarding aspirin. 

Source: US Preventive Services Task Force–Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease: Preventive Medication

The use of aspirin should be a decision based on the personal medical history of the individual
Although there are new recommendations for using aspirin to prevent cardiovascular diseases, clinicians should base their treatment recommendations on patients' needs and history.
Source: The American Journal of Cardiology: “Usefulness of Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease”

For more information, visit Million Hearts at millionhearts.hhs.gov.

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