Yesterday I picked up my 6 month supply of low-dose aspirin. Since my diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma, I have been put on a maintenance regiment of baby aspirin (81mg) daily. It was recommended I take the aspirin with milk to help it go down easier and that aspirin would decrease the likelihood I would suffer a stroke. Yeah, I know I had a stroke in 2009, while on aspirin, I’m hoping to avoid another one.
According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, the value of taking aspirin commonly known as ASA (an antiplatelet) is that:
- Anti-platelets help prevent tiny cells in the blood (platelets) from clumping together and forming blood clots. Anti-platelets, such as ASA, act on platelets in your blood, making it less sticky so that the platelets are less likely to produce clots that block arteries and may cause heart attacks or strokes.
Yesterday I was reading a USA Today article about aspirin that discussed a topic I hadn’t considered – when the best time was to take aspirin. I have always taken it in the morning when I ate breakfast, just because I wanted to get it out of the way.
A new study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Session 2014 this month in Dallas suggests that taking an aspirin before bedtime may decrease the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke in the morning.
In the Netherlands, 290 patients with heart disease were studied who were already taking aspirin. For 2 three month periods they were given 100 milligrams of aspirin either in the morning or at the bedtime. After each period, participants’ blood pressure and blood platelets level were measured.
USA Today stated that according to the study’s author, Tobias Bonten of the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, although blood pressure was not reduced when taking aspirin before bed, their blood platelet activity was reduced significantly in the morning, if participants took an aspirin at night. He’s quoted as saying:
Platelet activity is highest in the morning, and that is also the time that most heart attacks and strokes occur, so if you reduce platelet activity during the morning hours, you might reduce heart attacks and stroke at that time
More research is needed, however these initial findings are interesting. I will be sure to discuss them during my next Specialist appointment.
[Update] The BBC World News Service also discusses this bedtime aspirin subject in the first part of their Health Check Wed Nov 27th podcast, which includes an interview with Dr Tobias Bonten.
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