Can Aspirin Really Prevent Heart Attacks?

Aspirin is one of the most famous and likely most used drugs on the market. It is said to have many uses, from dulling headaches, to treating acne, soften calluses and many others. But while some benefits of aspirin have been proven true both in real-life and laboratory settings, others may be more of a myth than reality.

Aspirin is believed to protect the heart and help prevent blood flow diseases such as stroke if taken consistently. However, a new study seems to suggest that the common knowledge some took as a medical fact may actually not be entirely true.

The research published recently in Clinical Cardiology seems to suggest that while some patients with a predisposition for a stroke or heart attack can definitely benefit from taking aspirin, that isn’t always the case.

The study was performed by tracking the health of about 35000 patients which suffered from atherosclerosis. They were chosen because this condition narrows and thickens the arteries of patients, putting them at a much higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

What researchers found after analyzing the data was somewhat unexpected. While it is true that those in the study who were taking regular doses of aspirin were confirmed to have a lower chance of dying from a stroke, heart attack or any other heart disease, this was only true for a very specific group.

Only the participants who had already suffered a heart attack, stroke or any other disease related to the blood flow in their arteries did experience an improvement. The good news is that their chances of suffering a second, possibly fatal episode were lowered by an encouraging 19% if they were taking aspirin.

The odds remained the same, however, for those who had never experienced one of the aforementioned episodes, as the researchers could not find any change in their likelihood of suffering a heart attack, having a stroke or being diagnosed with a blood-related disease in the future.

The study wasn’t conclusive due to its purely observational nature, but the team points out that aspirin’s positive impact on those who had already suffered a heart attack or stroke may be due to the fact that the drug reduces the severity of future blood clots.

More research should be conducted to find out for certain whether aspirin can in fact help prevent heart attacks and strokes at a more generalized level. Meanwhile, those who have been taking aspirin may be experiencing side effects which deteriorate their health in other areas, so it is always advisable to be cautious when taking any medicine without a proven success rate.