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Aspirin and heart disease
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Aspirin and heart disease

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Blood thinners - aspirin; Antiplatelet therapy - aspirin

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  • How Aspirin Helps You

    Taking aspirin helps prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries, and may help lower your risk of a stroke or heart attack.

    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. Talk to your health care provider before taking aspirin every day. Your provider may change your dose from time to time.

  • Side Effects

    Aspirin can have side effects such as:

    • Diarrhea
    • Itching
    • Nausea
    • Skin rash
    • Stomach pain 

    Before you start taking aspirin, tell your health care provider if you have bleeding problems or stomach ulcers. Also say if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Taking Aspirin

    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 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 doctor 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 doctor if you have side effects.

    Side effects can be any signs of unusual bleeding:

    • Blood in the urine or stools
    • Nosebleeds
    • 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.

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References

Fihn SD, Gardin JM, Abrams J, et al. 2012 ACCF/AHA/ACP/AATS/PCNA/SCAI/STS guideline for the diagnosis and management of patients with stable ischemic heart disease: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association task force on practice guidelines, and the American College of Physicians, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, Society for Cardiovascular Angiograpy and Interventions, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Circulation. 2012;126:e354-e471.

Fraker TD Jr, Fihn SD, Gibbons RJ, Abrams J, Chatterjee K, Daley J et al. 2007 chronic angina focused update of the ACC/AHA 2002 Guidelines for the management of patients with chronic stable angina: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines Writing Group to develop the focused update of the 2002 Guidelines for the management of patients with chronic stable angina. Circulation. 2007;116:2762-2772.

Kushner FG, Hand M, Smith SC Jr, King SB 3rd, Anderson JL, Antman EM, et al. 2009 Focused Updates: ACC/AHA Guidelines for the Management of Patients With ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (updating the 2004 Guideline and 2007 Focused Update) and ACC/AHA/SCAI Guidelines on Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (updating the 2005 Guideline and 2007 Focused Update): a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2009;120:2271-306.

Lansberg MG, O'Donnell MJ, Khatri P, Lang ES, Nguyen-Huynh MN, Schwartz NE, et al. Antithrombotic and thrombolytic therapy for ischemic stroke: Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest. 2012;141:e601S-36S.

Ridker PM, Libby P, Buring JE. Risk markers and primary prevention of coronary heart disease. In: Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, et al, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 42.

Vandvik PO, Lincoff AM, Gore JM, Gutterman DD, Sonnenberg FA, Alonso-Coello P, et al. Primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest. 2012;141:e637S-68S.

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Review Date: 8/12/2014  

Reviewed 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.

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