Heart Disease Home > Aspirin and Heart Attacks

Research studies have shown that aspirin could help in preventing heart attacks. However, there are risks associated with taking aspirin regularly, such as an increased chance of internal bleeding. People with a previous history of heart attack, unstable angina, and other medical conditions should take aspirin. Younger people or those with no heart disease risk factors should not take it.

Does Aspirin Prevent Heart Attacks?

In the early 1990s, strong research showed that aspirin could help in treating heart attacks. In fact, this heart disease "wonder drug" is now given to all people who arrive at the emergency department with a suspected heart attack, because aspirin acts to thin the blood and reduce the size of a blood clot during a heart attack.
 
But what about taking aspirin to help prevent a heart attack? There are certain groups of people for whom this practice makes sense; however, it is not appropriate for everyone. For example, younger people or those with no heart disease risk factors should not take aspirin. This is because the risks associated with taking aspirin outweigh the benefits for people in these groups.
 
Talk with your doctor before taking aspirin for heart attack prevention. Your healthcare provider will weigh the possible benefits against the risks in your specific situation. Before your healthcare provider recommends aspirin for heart attack prevention, he or she will consider a number of factors, including your:
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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