According to a number of high quality studies, low-dose aspirin will often reduce stroke and heart attack risk substantially, especially in those who have known cardiovascular disease.
How? Almost anyone can form small blood clots attached to the walls of blood vessels. These clots can gradually enlarge, then suddenly break off and be carried to the brain or the heart where they can obstruct a small vessel and block blood flow to something vital. Aspirin works by interfering with the mechanism responsible for producing these clots.
It is important to understand that there is no cumulative benefit from taking aspirin. The protective effect lasts for 36-48 hours, and then it’s completely gone. Think of your aspirin like your seat belt — you must use it every day or it won’t be there that one time when you need it. Conversely, if you take your aspirin faithfully, you’ll never know it when you “dodged the bullet”… because nothing happened.
Aspirin has also been shown to reduce the risk of thrombophlebitis and pulmonary embolism in those at higher risk (prolonged sitting, long plane flights, etc.)
We usually recommend that you take one 81mg aspirin daily. Of course, risks and benefits will be discussed at length. Some people should not take aspirin. Be sure to check with us if you have any doubt.