If you've been diagnosed with angina, one treatment your doctor may recommend is aspirin. Not only does aspirin help relieve the symptoms of angina, but it also helps reduce the risk of a heart attack, which is a real concern in patients with angina. Here are some questions you may have after your doctor puts you on aspirin for the treatment of angina.
How often do you need to take the aspirin?
When aspirin is prescribed for angina, you don't typically need to take the larger, 325 mg tablets several times per day as you would if you were taking aspirin for pain relief. Instead, most doctors recommend their patients take a low-dose, 81 mg aspirin once a day. In some cases, you may be advised to take the low-dose aspirin twice a day. This is all that is needed to help ease the symptoms of angina and ward off a heart attack. Taking more won't give you additional benefits, but it may increase your risk of side effects.
How does aspirin work in treating angina?
Aspirin works to treat angina in a couple of different ways. For one, it helps diminish the inflammatory process by blocking the action of a certain enzyme. Inflammation in the arteries is a key component of angina, and relieving that inflammation can greatly reduce the amount of pressure and pain you feel in your chest. Aspirin also helps prevent blood clots. When you have angina, a single blood clot is more likely to get stuck in an artery and cause a heart attack, so anything you can do to reduce blood clotting, including taking aspirin, is protective.
What are the side effects of taking aspirin?
Most people tolerate aspirin well. However, it can cause stomach irritation in some patients. Taking your aspirin with food and a glass of water can greatly minimize this.
Some people also have trouble sleeping when they take aspirin. If you think your aspirin may be making it hard for you to sleep, try taking it first thing in the morning. If your doctor has recommended you take aspirin twice a day, reach out and tell them that your evening dose is causing insomnia. They may recommend reducing your aspirin use to once a day, or they may recommend taking a different medication instead.
Low-dose aspirin is a common treatment that can be used alone or in conjunction with other drugs. Talk to your doctor to learn more about angina treatments.
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