It is estimated that approximately 20 percent of adult Americans take aspirin on a daily or regular basis to help reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. Research has shown that taking aspirin on a daily basis can reduce the risk of heart attack by 333 percent, and reduce the risk of death by heart attack, stroke, and other types of heart disease by 15 percent. It is for this reason that many cardiologists and other physicians recommend taking aspirin daily to many of their patients. However, not all doctors agree on how much aspirin a person should take to obtain the cardiovascular benefits it provides.
According to Charles Campbell, MD, director of the Coronary Care Unit at the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute, the majority of doctors (approximately 60 percent) recommend low-dose or baby aspirin (81), while most other doctors advise take a standard aspirin tablet (325 mg) once a day.
So which group of doctors is correct?
Based on the results of a scientific analysis performed by Dr. Campbell and a team of researchers at the University of Kentucky, the answer is that, although both doses of aspirin provide similar benefits, for most people the lower, baby dose is the better option.
That's because, after they examined 11 major clinical trials on aspirin that involved approximately 10,000 patients, Dr. Campbell and his research team found that a daily dose of baby aspirin was equally effective in preventing heart attacks and stroke as a daily dose of standard aspirin tablets. There was one important difference between the two dosage levels, however.
According to the researchers' findings, baby aspirin resulted in fewer incidences of gastrointestinal bleeding, a potentially dangerous side effect of regular aspirin use.
Based on these findings, Dr. Campbell and his fellow researchers concluded the published study of their findings by stating, "Currently available clinical data do not support the routine, long-term use of aspirin dosages greater than 75 to 81 mg/d [baby dose aspirin] in the setting of cardiovascular disease prevention. Higher dosages, which may be commonly prescribed, do not better prevent events but are associated with increased risks of gastrointestinal bleeding." Their study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in May 2007.
Dr. Campbell's Addition Recommendations for Aspirin Use
What follows is other important medical advice about aspirin use by Dr. Campbell:
In addition to the above recommendations, have your Health Coach monitor your aspirin use due to the fact that it can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, a condition that is potentially fatal. If you experience any discomfort in your stomach or abdominal area after you start using aspirin, report such symptoms to your Health Coach immediately.
Campbell, Charles L. MD; et. al. Aspirin Dose for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systemic Review. JAMA. 2007;297(18):2018-2024.