Can aspirin reduce the risk of stroke?

Aspirin is a drug with many benefits—it reduces fever, relieves pain, has anti-inflammatory properties, and has antiplatelet properties that prevent blood clots.

Due to its antiplatelet and anti-inflammatory effects, daily aspirin is recommended if you have an ischemic stroke. Used in this way, aspirin can reduce your risk of another stroke. A stroke is a brain injury that occurs when blood flow to an area of ​​the brain is interrupted, usually due to a blood clot.

When taken as recommended, daily aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and death from stroke, as well as reduce the risk of recurrent stroke by 1.1%–3.6%.

This article will discuss how aspirin can help reduce the risk of recurrent stroke, the benefits, the risks, who should not take aspirin, and the dosage.

How does aspirin prevent stroke?

Platelets are cells that are active in producing blood clots. Aspirin prevents blood clots by preventing platelets from sticking together. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory drug.

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury or infection, causing immune system cells to swell and activate. Inflammation is a factor in the vascular disease that leads to stroke.

Taking aspirin daily can help prevent recurrent strokes in some people at risk for ischemic stroke, which is a stroke caused by a blockage in blood flow to the brain.

benefit

While blood clots are important for preventing excessive bleeding from wounds, they can be dangerous if they form in the brain, heart, lungs, and other parts of the body. Aspirin can help prevent platelets from forming clots.

An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow in the arteries of the brain is blocked. Certain conditions can make you prone to blood clots in your brain.

Long-term high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, inflammation, and unhealthy cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerotic plaques in the heart, carotid arteries, and brain. Plaque contains cholesterol and other substances that block blood flow to the heart (causing a heart attack) or the brain (causing a stroke).

An ischemic stroke can occur if atherosclerotic plaque ruptures and travels from the heart or carotid arteries and becomes lodged in the brain. An ischemic stroke can also occur if a blood clot forms in an artery in the brain, interrupting blood flow.

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In addition, irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation, can increase the risk of blood clots starting to develop in the heart, which can lead to stroke.

Aspirin prevents these blood clots from forming and also reduces atherosclerosis. This can help prevent heart attacks and ischemic strokes.

Aspirin to prevent secondary stroke

Aspirin can reduce the risk of secondary stroke in some people, but if you don’t have a stroke, you shouldn’t take it for primary stroke prevention unless your healthcare provider specifically advises you to.

risk

Aspirin is safe for most people, but it has some side effects and risks.

Common side effects of aspirin are:

  • upset stomach
  • increased risk of bruising
  • prolonged bleeding from the wound
  • ringing in the ear
  • impaired healing of an injury or wound

These side effects are not usually considered dangerous, but you should tell your healthcare provider if you experience any of them.

Serious and uncommon side effects:

  • Severe gastrointestinal bleeding, blood in the stool, black tarry stools, or vomiting blood (hematemesis)
  • cough up blood
  • blood in the urine
  • intracerebral hemorrhage

If you experience any of these serious side effects while taking aspirin, seek medical attention right away.

Who shouldn’t take aspirin?

Sometimes aspirin is contraindicated due to underlying medical conditions. If you have ever had an allergic or severe reaction to aspirin, you should not take aspirin for stroke prevention or any other reason. This includes not taking any medicines that contain aspirin (such as over-the-counter Excedrin).

If you plan to have surgery, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking aspirin for a period of time before surgery.

Aspirin is not recommended for:

  • children, due to a potentially dangerous reaction called Reye’s syndrome
  • people with severe bleeding disorders
  • Anyone with glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency (a genetic disorder that causes the breakdown of red blood cells)
  • People at risk for bleeding, such as a brain aneurysm (a raised area on the wall of an artery in the brain)

There may be other situations in which aspirin is banned. Before you start taking aspirin, it’s important to make sure you can use aspirin safely. Tell your doctor and pharmacist all your medical conditions and every medicine and supplement you are taking.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are diagnosed with a new illness or prescribed a new medication while you are taking aspirin.

dose

If you are advised to use aspirin daily for stroke prevention, your healthcare provider will recommend a specific daily dose for you based on your age, weight, stroke risk, bleeding risk, other medications you take, and other highlighted medical conditions you have .

Examples of daily aspirin doses for stroke prevention include 81 milligrams (mg) per day after acute ischemic stroke, 81 milligrams per day for stroke prevention in people with atrial fibrillation, and 325 milligrams per day for people with carotid artery disease. for stroke prevention.

Can ibuprofen be taken with low dose aspirin?

other blood thinners

Aspirin has antiplatelet effects, and there are other drugs described as blood thinners that have antiplatelet activity or have other means of preventing blood clots. In some cases, aspirin and another blood thinner are recommended to prevent stroke.

blood thinners for stroke prevention

When to take aspirin after a stroke

It is not safe to use aspirin during an acute stroke. It is used to prevent recurrent ischemic stroke. It is not considered useful for preventing hemorrhagic stroke (stroke caused by bleeding in the brain).

If the stroke is ischemic and there is no significant bleeding risk, aspirin is sometimes used shortly after the stroke is diagnosed. Sometimes it is not clear whether the stroke is ischemic or hemorrhagic until diagnostic tests are done.

Aspirin is considered unsafe to use if there is a risk of symptoms from a hemorrhagic stroke.

Do not take aspirin during a stroke

Aspirin should not be taken during acute or uncertain stroke. If you are at risk of having a stroke, seek medical attention immediately.

generalize

Daily aspirin is often used for secondary prevention of stroke. For some people who have already had a stroke, it can be used to prevent recurrent strokes. This drug prevents blood clots, and it is also an anti-inflammatory drug.

Aspirin can cause some side effects, most of which are mild. But aspirin carries a small risk of serious side effects. This drug should not be used if it has ever caused you to have an allergic reaction, and it is sometimes contraindicated in people at risk of bleeding.

VigorTip words

Stroke prevention is important if you have any stroke risk factors. If you have already had a stroke, your doctor will evaluate your risk factors and recommend preventive measures to reduce your risk of having another stroke.

For some people who have already had a stroke, aspirin is recommended as a preventive measure. If your healthcare provider recommends aspirin for you, be sure to take it as directed and report any side effects. If you develop stroke symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does aspirin make a stroke worse?

    Sometimes aspirin can make the stroke worse by causing increased bleeding if the stroke is already bleeding, and aspirin can cause bleeding in the brain during an ischemic stroke. This complication can worsen symptoms and may worsen the overall outcome of a stroke.

  • Should I take aspirin if I think I’ve had a stroke?

    No, it is not recommended that you take aspirin during a stroke. Aspirin helps prevent strokes, and sometimes doctors recommend starting aspirin a few days after a stroke, but the bleeding risk must first be identified.

  • How much aspirin can you take per day?

    It depends on your doctor’s advice for you. Factors that determine your dose include other medications you are taking, any medical conditions you have, your weight, and your stroke risk factors. Depending on your condition, a typical adult dose for stroke prevention may be between 81 and 325 mg per day.