Aspirin has long been called a wonder drug due to its ability to prevent heart attacks and strokes because it interferes with the blood’s clotting ability. When we bleed, our blood platelets build up, creating a plug that seals an opening in a blood vessel. These clots can also develop inside blood vessels, potentially preventing blood flow to the brain and resulting in a stroke. Aspirin works by reducing the clumping action of platelets to prevent stroke.
Many aging adults think they can prevent heart attacks and strokes by simply taking an aspirin every day. However, seniors and their family members need to be aware that research into the use of aspirin for stroke prevention has found that while many people can benefit from daily low-dose aspirin therapy, there are people for whom aspirin can do more harm than good.
What’s the Difference between Primary & Secondary Stroke Prevention?
Research conducted since the 1990s has found people who have had strokes, heart attacks, or blood vessel disease can benefit from taking daily aspirin to prevent a recurrence of these issues. This is called secondary prevention.
However, seniors should be aware the FDA has found primary prevention—or daily low-dose aspirin to prevent strokes in people who haven’t had cardiovascular issues, heart attacks, or strokes—may not be beneficial. This is because daily aspirin intake comes with potentially serious risks, such as bleeding in the stomach or brain. Because aspirin works by interfering with the blood’s ability to clot, it can be especially dangerous for seniors who are taking prescription blood thinners. In addition, a large Japanese clinical trial found daily low-dose aspirin doesn’t reduce the higher risk of strokes in older adults who have hypertension, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Oakville seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Should Seniors Take Daily Aspirin?
There are several aspirin trials being conducted now to determine if some seniors can benefit from daily aspirin therapy. In light of what we currently know about the benefits of aspirin, seniors are typically advised to speak with their doctors and weigh the benefits against the risks, which include gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke. Seniors who are at high risk for strokes and those with histories of strokes and heart attacks may still be advised by their doctors to take daily low-dose aspirin.
Aspirin may lower the risk of strokes for some seniors, but aging adults should still follow healthy lifestyle habits to minimize the risk even further. Elder care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
What Are Some Effective Alternatives to Aspirin Therapy?
If the physician says your loved one shouldn’t be taking aspirin on a regular basis, there are some other recommendations instead. The most essential way to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes is to make healthy lifestyle changes. Aging adults who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet that’s rich in vegetables and whole grains, and avoid consuming sugar, tobacco, and trans fats can lower their stroke risk while avoiding the negative effects of aspirin.
A healthy diet and exercise are critical for older adults who are working to lower their stroke risk. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior home care. Oakville, ON, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (519) 590-2792.