Aspirin inhibits blood platelets (major clotting factors) and is used to treat angina (heart pain), to protect against heart attacks, and to prevent blood clots during cardiac surgery.
While there are many types of anti-clotting agents, which can be used alone or in combination, aspirin alone has been documented to decrease risk of death from stroke or heart attack by 25 to 50 percent.
It also has been shown to reduce the risk of nonfatal heart attacks by 34 percent.
Low-dose aspirin, or an 81-milligram baby aspirin, is usually the first choice for preventing heart attacks in people with angina or those with risk factors for a first heart attack.
People with allergies to aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, kidney or liver problems, gastritis, ulcers or bleeding problems should consult with their doctors before taking aspirin.
To avoid potential bleeding complications from combining blood thinners, anyone on Coumadin or Plavix should consult with their doctor before starting aspirin therapy.