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HEALTHWATCH: Aspirin therapy
Aspirin is one of the most widely used and affordable medicines in the world -- but it's not safe for everyone.
In tonight's Health Watch report, Kathryn Daniel finds out who should take aspirin for heart health and who should avoid it.
Veteran Sacred Heart Hospital Doctor Cardiologist James Williams says it's the most common question his patients ask. (("Doctor, should I be taking aspirin every day?"))
And if a patient doesn't bring it up, he will.
Aspirin's been used for fever and pain since the 1700s but it's main modern use is the in the prevention of blood clots.
Aspirin blocks one of the first steps in the formation of them.
(("A blood clot is a big part of a heart attack or a stroke. If we can keep that blood clot from ever getting to be a significant clot. No heart attack, no stroke."))
Williams says patients with a history of heart problems should take a daily aspirin.
(("The more difficult group is people who have not had an event."))
Williams says to find out if you should be on a daily aspirin regimen, go to the American Heart Association webpage www.heart.org.
There you'll find a heart attack risk calculator. Take the five minute survey to learn your ten year heart attack risk.
(("If your risk is more than ten percent, you stand to benefit."))
But some folks -- even if they have an elevated risk -- should not take aspirin.
People with bleeding problems or peptic ulcers are in that group among others.
(("Particularly patients with diabetes, patients who are elderly or patients who are taking the cholesterol drug like statins."))
Williams says if your risk is high -- he recommends you take one low dose aspirin once a day.
This 81 milligram non-coated generic chewable is fine.
Williams says the time of day you take it may make a difference.
(("It appears that aspirins' effectiveness in the test tube is greater if you take it at bedtime. This may be simply be because it's not competing with food for absorption."))
Williams says a couple years ago he took the heart attack survey and found his risk was elevated.
He started his own daily aspirin regimen.
(("It's so cheap, so effective and really is a foundation of prevention of heart events."))
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