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Can Daily Aspirin Therapy Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes?

By Mark Schmidt, 9:00 am on May 6, 2019

As people age, they may be more susceptible to strokes and heart attacks. While maintaining a healthy weight, keeping cholesterol levels within normal limits, not smoking, and getting enough exercise can lower the risk, aspirin may also prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events. Here are some ways a daily aspirin may be good for preventing stroke and heart attack.

Decreases Platelet Aggregation

When platelets become less sticky, it’s referred to as decreased platelet aggregation. Aspirin decreases platelet aggregation, which reduces the risk for blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. While decreased platelet aggregation is favorable for those at high risk for cardiovascular events or strokes, it can lead to abnormal bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and even inside the brain. Bleeding risk rises with age, so before considering aspirin therapy, speak to a physician to determine if taking an aspirin every day is a safe choice for your senior loved one.

A healthy diet and exercise are critical for seniors who want to lower their risk of heart attack and stroke. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Tucson, AZ, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Dampens Arterial Inflammation

Inflammation inside the coronary arteries is thought to play a significant role in the development of heart attack and stroke. Aspirin can dampen arterial inflammation and enhance circulation, which may lower the risk for stroke and heart attack. When arterial and other types of systemic inflammation develop, the body releases inflammation-causing cytokines, which may be another risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Taking a daily aspirin may also have positive effects on blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors for heart attack and stroke, so even moderate decreases in blood pressure can reduce this risk. The blood pressure–lowering effects of taking a daily aspirin may depend on the time it’s taken. It’s thought that when taken at night, aspirin can lower blood pressure so heart attacks and strokes are less likely to occur overnight and in the early morning hours. Conversely, when aspirin is taken during the daytime, it’s less likely to have an effect on blood pressure. The reason aspirin lowers blood pressure when taken at night isn’t completely understood, and more research is needed. 

High blood pressure often accompanies other medical issues, such as diabetes and renal disease. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Tucson seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Stabilizes Arterial Calcification

Calcium in the arteries is thought to raise the risk for heart attack and stroke because pieces of the calcium can break off and travel through the vessels, causing an obstruction. Aspirin may stabilize and even reduce the amount of calcium that accumulates in the arteries. Before your loved one starts taking aspirin to stabilize arterial calcifications, speak with his or her doctor, who may refer your loved one to a cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment. The cardiologist may recommend undergoing an arterial calcium scan so your loved one’s calcium score can be evaluated. If moderate to high, your loved one may benefit from taking a daily aspirin.

Even if aspirin can lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, aging adults should still follow healthy lifestyle habits to minimize the risk as much as possible. In Tucson, home care service agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (520) 276-6555.