Is Aspirin Actually Good for Your Heart Health?

Whether you’re walk­ing to your car, cook­ing din­ner or shov­el­ing snow, your heart is hard at work to make all of these activ­i­ties pos­si­ble. You may not think about your heart too often, but it has a big impact on your abil­i­ty to do tasks each day — and it has a big impact on your over­all health.

Your heart is one of the most impor­tant mus­cles in your body, and there are many ways you can show your heart some love each day. From eat­ing heart-healthy foods to get­ting a good amount of exer­cise each week, you can make small changes that pro­tect your heart.

While these rec­om­men­da­tions for heart health aren’t going any­where, some rec­om­men­da­tions are chang­ing — like the rec­om­men­da­tion to take aspirin to pre­vent a heart attack or stroke. 

Here’s what you need to know about new rec­om­men­da­tions for aspirin and low­er­ing your risk for heart attack. 

Wait. Has the Rec­om­men­da­tion for Tak­ing Aspirin to Pre­vent Heart Attack Changed?

If you grew up believ­ing that adults should take a baby aspirin every day once they turned 50 to pre­vent a heart attack, you’re not the only one. No, you didn’t just make this up — in fact, this was the stan­dard med­ical rec­om­men­da­tion for many years. 

But with more research, med­ical experts recent­ly came out with a new rec­om­men­da­tion for aspirin usage. 

New Rec­om­men­da­tion About Aspirin Usage

For adults between the ages of 40 to 59, who have a 10% or high­er 10-year car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease risk, tak­ing aspirin every day should be a per­son­al deci­sion you dis­cuss with your provider. Talk to your provider today about whether aspirin is the right choice for you.

A 2022 study found that for peo­ple who are 40 to 59 years old with a 10% or high­er 10-year car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease risk, there is a small ben­e­fit to tak­ing dai­ly aspirin. If you don’t have a high­er risk for bleed­ing, you may be more like­ly to ben­e­fit from dai­ly low-dose aspirin.

Because the ben­e­fit is small, the US Pre­ven­tive Ser­vices Task Force that con­duct­ed this research gave this rec­om­men­da­tion a C‑grade, mean­ing that a med­ical provider should make this aspirin rec­om­men­da­tion only for some patients and only if they meet cer­tain criteria. 

Not every­one should take aspirin to pre­vent heart dis­ease, and you should only take it for your heart health if your doc­tor rec­om­mends it. Your Duly provider or car­di­ol­o­gist can help you deter­mine your risk for heart dis­ease and if dai­ly aspirin is a good idea for you.

Are There Peo­ple Who Should Still Take Aspirin?

If you have known car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease or have had a heart attack or a stroke already, your doc­tor may rec­om­mend tak­ing aspirin as a part of your treat­ment plan. 

Because heart attacks and strokes are often caused by blood not being able to move to your heart or brain, aspirin can be a good treat­ment because aspirin is a blood thin­ner. But aspirin should only be used to pre­vent a heart attack or stroke under a doctor’s guidance. 

There are oth­er rea­sons you may take aspirin apart from your heart. Non­pre­scrip­tion aspirin can be tak­en to help with com­mon health prob­lems like:

  • Fever
  • Mus­cle aches 
  • Headache pain
  • Toothaches
  • Arthri­tis
  • Men­stru­al cramps

    Should I Take Aspirin Dur­ing a Heart Attack?

    With the change in aspirin rec­om­men­da­tion, you may be won­der­ing if you should take aspirin dur­ing a heart attack. 

    It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that tak­ing aspirin isn’t going to stop your heart attack symp­toms all on its own. Tak­ing aspirin and then wait­ing for your pain to go away isn’t enough. 

    If you are expe­ri­enc­ing a heart attack, call 911 before you do any­thing else. Don’t try to treat your heart attack symp­toms on your own or wait it out. Your 911 oper­a­tor might rec­om­mend you take aspirin while you wait, but don’t just take an aspirin instead of call­ing 911.

    Aspirin can help pre­vent dif­fer­ent heart con­di­tions when pre­scribed by your provider, but you should not take aspirin if you are hav­ing a stroke. Some strokes are caused by a blood clot, but some aren’t — and in some cas­es, tak­ing aspirin can make your stroke symp­toms worse. 

    When you are expe­ri­enc­ing a heart event, call 911. Then, the emer­gency providers and doc­tors can get you the treat­ment you need.

    Put Your Heart Health First

    The risk of a heart attack or a stroke can be scary — espe­cial­ly if you’ve already had one or if they run in your fam­i­ly. While heart dis­ease impacts so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple, mak­ing your own deci­sion to take aspirin is not the answer. 

    Talk to your Duly provider or car­di­ol­o­gist about your con­cerns. They can assess your heart health and let you know if aspirin is a good idea for you. They can also rec­om­mend oth­er lifestyle changes that can ben­e­fit your heart health.

    While chang­ing rec­om­men­da­tions can leave you won­der­ing what to do next, Duly providers can help you make the deci­sions that work best for you, your risk, and your health.

    Health Topics:

    • I approach every patient-doctor relationship as a partnership built on a foundation of mutual respect and understanding. My job as your cardiologist is not to tell you what to do but rather to provide you with the most up-to-date and evidence-based recommendations that I can, and together we will formulate a treatment plan that is consistent with your preferences and goals.