Aspirin therapy is very helpful for people with CAD or a history of stroke. If you have been diagnosed with CAD, your health care provider may recommend that you take a daily dose (from 75 to 162 mg) of aspirin. A daily dose of 81 mg is recommended for people who have had PCI (angioplasty). Aspirin can reduce the risk for heart attack and ischemic stroke. However, using aspirin over the long-term can raise your risk for stomach bleeding.
Daily aspirin should not be used for prevention in healthy people who are at low risk for heart disease. You provider will consider your overall medical condition and risk factors for heart attack before recommending aspirin therapy.
How Aspirin Helps You
Your provider may recommend to take daily aspirin if:
- You do not have a history of heart disease or stroke, but you are at high risk for a heart attack or stroke.
- You have been diagnosed with heart disease or stroke already.
Aspirin helps get more blood flowing to your legs. It can treat a heart attack and prevent blood clots when you have an abnormal heartbeat. You probably will take aspirin after you have treatment for clogged arteries.
You will most likely take aspirin as a pill. A daily low-dose aspirin (75 to 81 mg) is most often the first choice for preventing heart disease or stroke.
Talk to your provider before taking aspirin every day. Your provider may change your dose from time to time.
Aspirin can have side effects such as:
- Skin rash
- Stomach pain
Before you start taking aspirin, tell your provider if you have bleeding problems or stomach ulcers. Also say if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Take your aspirin with food and water. This can reduce side effects. You may need to stop taking this medicine before surgery or dental work. Always talk to your provider before you stop taking this medicine. If you have had a heart attack or a stent placed, be sure to ask your heart doctor if it is OK to stop taking aspirin.
You may need medicine for other health problems. Ask your provider if this is safe.
If you miss a dose of your aspirin, take it as soon as possible. If it is time for your next dose, take your usual amount. DO NOT take extra pills.
Store your medicines in a cool, dry place. Keep them away from children.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if you have side effects.
Side effects can be any signs of unusual bleeding:
- Blood in the urine or stools
- Unusual bruising
- Heavy bleeding from cuts
- Black tarry stools
- Coughing up blood
- Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding or unexpected vaginal bleeding
- Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
Other side effects can be dizziness or difficulty swallowing.
Call your provider if you have wheezing, breathing difficulty, or tightness or pain in your chest.
Side effects include swelling in your face or hands. Call your provider if you have itching, hives, or tingling in your face or hands, very bad stomach pain, or a skin rash.
Blood thinners - aspirin; Antiplatelet therapy - aspirin
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Ridker PM, Libby P, Buring JE. Risk markers and primary prevention of coronary heart disease. In: Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 42.
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- Angioplasty and stent placement - carotid artery
- Angioplasty and stent placement -- peripheral arteries
- Aortic valve surgery - minimally invasive
- Aortic valve surgery - open
- Cardiac ablation procedures
- Carotid artery surgery
- Coronary heart disease
- Hardening of the arteries
- Heart bypass surgery
- Heart bypass surgery - minimally invasive
- Heart pacemaker
- High blood cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure
- Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
- Mitral valve surgery - minimally invasive
- Mitral valve surgery - open
- Peripheral artery bypass - leg
- ACE inhibitors
- Angina - discharge
- Angina - what to ask your doctor
- Angina - when you have chest pain
- Angioplasty and stent - heart - discharge
- Angioplasty and stent placement - carotid artery - discharge
- Angioplasty and stent placement - peripheral arteries - discharge
- Atrial fibrillation - discharge
- Being active after your heart attack
- Being active when you have heart disease
- Butter, margarine, and cooking oils
- Cardiac catheterization - discharge
- Carotid artery surgery - discharge
- Cholesterol and lifestyle
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Controlling your high blood pressure
- Dietary fats explained
- Fast food tips
- Heart attack - discharge
- Heart attack - what to ask your doctor
- Heart bypass surgery - discharge
- Heart bypass surgery - minimally invasive - discharge
- Heart disease - risk factors
- Heart failure - discharge
- Heart failure - fluids and diuretics
- Heart failure - home monitoring
- Heart failure - what to ask your doctor
- Heart valve surgery - discharge
- How to read food labels
- Mediterranean diet
- Peripheral artery bypass - leg - discharge
- Stroke - discharge
Review Date 8/2/2016
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.