Taking aspirin helps prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries, and may help lower your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Aspirin helps get more blood flowing to your legs. It can treat a heart attack and prevent blood clots when you have an abnormal heartbeat. You probably will take aspirin after you have treatment for clogged arteries.
You will most likely take aspirin as a pill. Talk to your health care provider before taking aspirin every day. Your provider may change your dose from time to time.
Aspirin can have side effects such as:
Before you start taking aspirin, tell your health care provider if you have bleeding problems or stomach ulcers. Also say if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Take your aspirin with food and water. This can reduce side effects. You may need to stop taking this medicine before surgery or dental work. Always talk to your provider before you stop taking this medicine. If you had a heart attack or a stent placed, be sure to ask your heart doctor if it is ok to stop taking aspirin.
You may need medicine for other health problems. Ask your doctor if this is safe.
If you miss a dose of your aspirin, take it as soon as possible. If it is time for your next dose, take your usual amount. Do NOT take extra pills.
Store your medicines in a cool, dry place. Keep them away from children.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor if you have side effects.
Side effects can be any signs of unusual bleeding:
Blood in the urine or stools
Heavy bleeding from cuts
Black tarry stools
Coughing up blood
Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding or unexpected vaginal bleeding
Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
Other side effects can be dizziness or difficulty swallowing.
Call your provider if you have wheezing, breathing difficulty, or tightness or pain in your chest.
Side effects include swelling in your face or hands. Call your provider if you have itching, hives, or tingling in your face or hands, very bad stomach pain, or a skin rash.
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Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.