The Truth About Aspirin and Heart Attacks

18 May

Aspirin

Every year almost a quarter of a million people suffer heart attacks in the UK and a third die before reaching hospital*

Aspirin has been shown to reduce deaths from heart attack by 20-25%* and the earlier it is taken, the greater the benefit. When Paramedics are called to a person with a suspected heart attack, the first things they should do, if possible, is to give the patient a 300mg tablet of aspirin (unless the patient is hypersensitive to aspirin). This is referred to as ‘early aspirin’. But, a self-administered dose of aspirin taken upon onset of symptoms can be of even greater benefit; this is referred to as ‘immediate aspirin’.

It has been recommended, by eminent doctors and academics, that people at risk of a heart attack, that is, patients who have already had an attack, have a family history of heart disease, those with high blood pressure or cholesterol, and just about everyone over the age of about 50 years, should carry one or two tablets of soluble aspirin. A tablet to be chewed and swallowed immediately severe chest pain is experienced – even while 999 is being dialled!

What If I Already Take 75mg ‘Daily Aspirin’

A ‘one off’ dose of 300mg aspirin, taken upon onset of chest pain, should not be confused with daily 75mg aspirin. Taking a daily prophylactic 75mg aspirin does not preclude the use of an emergency 300mg dose taken during a suspected heart attack or unstable angina.

Whats the Best Way of Carrying Aspirin?

You can of course carry aspirin in your wallet, bag or purse but you may find that the aspirin crumbles or becomes damp. There is a new device called ASPOD® (aspod.com ) specifically designed to carry an emergency dose of 300mg soluble aspirin. It attaches to your keyring, belt or bag, keeps you aspirin dry, safe and even illuminates so you can find them easily in the dark.

*British Heart Foundation 2007 Heart Disease Statistics

Ref1. Second International Study of Infarct Survival (ISIS-2) Collaborative Group. Lancet 1988;ii:349–360.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOU NEED TO TAKE AN EMERGENCY DOSE OF ASPIRIN YOU MUST DIAL 999 FOR AN AMBULANCE FIRST – AND THEN IMMEDIATELY CHEW AND SWALLOW ONE 300mg SOLUBLE ASPIRIN.  If in doubt speak to your Doctor.

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