Aspirin has been around as long as most of us can remember. It was introduced over 100 years ago as a fever reducer and pain reliever and since that time, it has made its way into virtually every medicine cabinet in the country. Over the past several years, aspirin has been touted to help reduce the risks of a heart attack when taken daily. It has even been suggested that if you have symptoms of a heart attack, taking a large dose of aspirin can help relieve the symptoms and keep you alive! So is it true? Can aspirin stop a heart attack?

First, let’s define the problem. We all have small cell fragments referred to as platelets circulating within our blood. These platelets stick together to help the blood to clot and stop bleeding. In instances of cardiovascular disease, these platelets can block narrow arteries forming clots and impeding blood flow. When blood flow and oxygen are blocked from the heart for an extended period, a heart attack may result. Contributing factors to these occurrences are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of exercise.

Now lets take a look at how aspirin works. Since ancient times, the bark of the willow tree has been used by the Chinese to control fever and alleviate pain. Then in the 19th century, acetylsalicylic acid, a derivative of the willow bark was isolated and so was the birth of aspirin. Aspirin can be used to block prostaglandins, which regulate certain vital functions within the body. Blocking these functions can cause a reduction in body temperature, relief from inflammation, aches and pains and interference in the formation of blood clots.

It is the clotting interference we are concerned with as it relates to reducing the risks and alleviating symptoms of a heart attack. There have been numerous studies to test the theories of aspirin benefits on heart patients. One such study showed that aspirin, when taken within the first hour of the onset of heart attack symptoms, reduced the instance of death from the attack. By inhibiting the ability of the platelets to stick together, aspirin slows the formation of clotting allowing a person precious extra minutes to receive the required medical attention.

And here is even more good news about the benefits of this particular heart disease prevention. Aspirin can drastically reduce the risk of ever having your first heart attack. Benefits from aspirin therapy, just 81mg per day, have been noted in nearly everyone who previously had a stroke, heart attack or peripheral artery disease. Also, those who’ve suffered from angina or had bypass surgery also found relief from symptoms.

There are some side effects of aspirin to be aware of. Namely, it can reek havoc on your stomach. Those with sensitivity to aspirin may experience nausea, vomiting, heartburn or even ulcers. Additionally, aspirin can increase bleeding and more specifically bleeding ulcers although these symptoms are normally noted with long durations of aspirin use or a past history of ulcers. It is important to consult your doctor before beginning an aspirin therapy to weigh the risks versus the benefits.

All in all, aspirin has proven to be very beneficial for heart attack patients and those looking to take preventative measures against a heart attack. So, to answer that burning question, “Can aspirin stop a heart attack?” I’d say the answer is a resounding, Yes! Yes! Yes!

Author's Bio: 

Jim Riggs
Fitness and Nutrition Expert
Industry Expert
Fitness Coach and Personal Trainer

Jim Riggs is an authority in the fitness, nutrition and supplement industries. With more than twenty years of experience training everyone from soccer moms, to NFL Athletes, to Olympic gold medalists he has seen it all. Jim has a unique understanding, style and passion toward everything fitness. As a contributing writer for Jim brings this uniqueness to the supplement world through no nonsense product review and hard hitting commentary.