Many people turn to Aspirin to ease ailments associated to pain, fever or inflammation, but it’s also a go-to for cardiologists looking to treat their patients.
The question remains, does the reward of its regular use outweighs the risks involved. Dr. David Flatt, a cardiologist for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare says it’s pretty clear, “if you’ve ever had a heart attack, you need to take Aspirin.” He says 81 milligrams daily, for those patients.
“The risk is, if you’re on Aspirin, you’re going to increase your bleeding risk,” explains Dr. Flatt. He goes on to say, “it’s a platelet inhibitor, so when you cut your hand and you bleed, platelets are what gather to help you from just bleeding forever.” The Aspirin helps prevent platelets from forming clots, potentially avoiding a stroke or heart attack.
For those who haven’t had a heart attack, it’s important to talk with your doctors about your medical numbers, including cholesterol, to get a sense of where your risk stands.
“Smoking history, diabetes, cholesterol, family history and age. So you kind of put all those together in a calculator and try to determine, is this patient a high enough risk, that reducing their risk outweighs the risk of increased bleeding,” explains Dr. Flatt.
Those who are below a 10 percent risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the next 10 years, may want to avoid the medication because of its risk of causing gastrointestinal bleeding.
“We don’t want to expose patients who are unlikely to have a heart attack to that increased bleeding,” explains Dr. Flatt.
It’s best to determine that with counsel from your healthcare provider.