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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 18 years

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low doses of aspirin to help prevent heart attacks

Why do the recommend low doses of aspirin to help prevent heart attacks? I dont have heart issues but I do have anxiety issues. Anxiety attacks feel like heart attacks so I have been told. I have had a few tests on my heart while having anxiety attacks and luckily my problem is just anxiety. However, my docs still tell me to take a low dose of aspirin daily. What does the aspirin do to help with heart health? How does it work and exactly what does it do to help prevent heart attacks ?
Wed, 16 Dec 2009
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  User's Response
The use of preventive dose of aspirin given on daily basis is a controversial subject, more so because in a few cases it can cause life-threatening gastro-intestinal bleeding( a medico colleague of mine had it and and since gave it up) Do the beneft out weigh the risks, especially for normal individuals with no predisposition of cardiac illness. The question of whether prophylactic aspirin protects individuals at low risk of cardiovascular disease keeps being asked (though the exact dose at which it effective keeps being overlooked). Bandolier 86 carried a review examining the risks and benefits of aspirin use that looked at both coronary events prevented and harmful bleeds produced. The balance tipped from benefit to harm when the annual risk of a cardiovascular event was below 1%. Primary prevention is probably worthwhile at coronary risks of 1.5% a year or more, risks and benefits are balanced at an annual risk of 1%, and aspirin use is unsafe when the risk is 0.5% or less. Low risk was defined as having no more than one of a list of risk factors, including hypertension, high cholesterol or LDL, family history, smoking, diabetes, age over 45 years in men and 55 in women, angina, and past cardiovascular events.
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