Much like Statins and Warfarin, Aspirin is a commonly-prescribed medicine in the UK. It has been in the news recently as some feel it is perhaps not the most effective option when treating common heart problems such as Atrial Fibrillation. Here, we take a look at what Aspirin actually does, and why some people may be prescribed it.

What is Aspirin?

NHS guidance explains that Aspirin is an antiplatelet medicine. It is used to help prevent the blood from clotting, as a blood clot can cause a heart attack or stroke. If you’re prescribed Aspirin, it’s usually something you’ll need to take for life.

What happens when the blood clots?

When a break occurs in a blood vessel, the platelets in your blood form a clot as a way to prevent bleeding. This means that when you have a cut, platelets in your blood produce a chemical to draw more and more platelets together, forming a clot that then stops the bleeding.

Why has Aspirin been in the news?

Recently, the effectiveness of Aspirin has been questioned in the news as some believe that other types of blood-thinning drug are better for some people that suffer with Atrial Fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm problem in the UK.

What does Atrial Fibrillation mean?

According to NHS guidance, people with Atrial Fibrillation have an irregular heartbeat. This may be abnormally fast or, in some cases, abnormally slow. Aside from being the wrong speed, with Atrial Fibrillation the heartbeat is irregular, meaning the heartbeat doesn’t follow a regular rhythm. This makes it hard to predict. Atrial Fibrillation affects around one in every 100 people in the UK.

Who might need Aspirin?

Aspirin is most often prescribed to people who have suffered a heart attack or stroke along with other heart problems. It is also offered as a preventative measure for people who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, as well as people who smoke.

You can read more about Aspirin and its uses here.

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