Should I take aspirin for high blood pressure?

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High blood pressure ( hypertension ) is a risk factor for heart disease and, for many years, a daily dose of low-dose aspirin has been considered a safe and healthy way to prevent heart disease.

Therefore, it is prudent to link aspirin with lowering blood pressure as a key way to prevent heart attacks and strokes. However, experts attribute the cardiovascular benefits of aspirin primarily to its antiplatelet activity (its ability to thin the blood and make it less sticky) rather than its ability to affect blood pressure.

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Aspirin and blood pressure

In general, the research examining the link between aspirin and high blood pressure is limited and conflicting. For example, aspirin can affect blood pressure in some cases and when taken at certain times of the day.

These are some of the key points that are currently known:

  • In people with prehypertension or untreated mild hypertension, aspirin given at bedtime (rather than upon waking) can lower blood pressure.
  • For pregnant women at high risk of developing pre-eclampsia, taking a low dose of aspirin before bedtime, but not after waking up, lowers blood pressure.
  • In people with long-term hypertension who take high blood pressure medications, aspirin does not appear to affect their blood pressure, whether it is taken in the evening or in the morning.
  • Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ; NSAIDs can actually raise blood pressure in people with hypertension.

Reasons to take aspirin every day

That said, there are a few select scenarios where your healthcare provider might recommend a low daily dose of aspirin.

For instance:

Otherwise, it is not recommended to take your daily aspirin intake primarily to lower blood pressure or for other reasons.

Guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) suggest that daily aspirin use can be dangerous and cause more harm than good to the patient . The damage arises from the fact that aspirin thins the blood, making it more prone to internal bleeding.

Based on this issue, organizations such as the AHA, ACC, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advise patients not to take aspirin without first consulting with their healthcare providers.

Risks of aspirin

In addition to the serious risk of bleeding, which can occur in the stomach, small intestine, or even the brain, other potential risks of taking aspirin include :

  • Gastrointestinal problems (other than bleeding), such as heartburn or indigestion.
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Hepatic injury
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears ( tinnitus ), which is usually seen with high daily doses of aspirin .

Also, some people may have aspirin allergies or intolerances .

If your healthcare provider recommends aspirin

If your healthcare provider has authorized you to take low-dose aspirin every day, it is important that you take it exactly as recommended. Taking the wrong dose or using aspirin the wrong way can increase your risk of harmful side effects or complications.

Other topics to discuss with your doctor before starting aspirin include:

  • Can I drink and how much alcohol?
  • What medications or supplements to avoid (for example, taking another NSAID such as ibuprofen with aspirin increases the risk of bleeding)
  • If you are about to have a surgical procedure, should you (and when) stop taking aspirin?
  • Symptoms to look out for and what to do if they occur (such as black or bloody stools )

Low blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, instead of taking aspirin therapy, your healthcare provider will focus on making lifestyle changes and / or choosing one or more medications that have been shown to be effective and safe for treating hypertension.

Examples of such lifestyle changes include:

  • Limit salt in the diet.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Give up smoking

Medications that your healthcare professional may recommend include:

Get the word of drug information

The bottom line is that aspirin is not the main treatment for high blood pressure, except in some cases. Aspirin carries risks, especially bleeding, and should only be taken under medical supervision.

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