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Heart Attack Risks Cut By An Aspirin at Bedtime, According to New Study

By Tony Sokol | November 20, 2013 10:40 AM EST

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Heart attacks and strokes can be cut by taking an aspirin before you go to bed. A study found that taking aspirin, which is a blood clotting drug, is more effective when taken at night than in the morning.

Taking aspirin daily is now a common treatment to cut the risk of heart attack or stroke. Aspirin thins the blood and prevents the formation of blood clots. But a new Dutch study finds that people who take aspirin at bedtime might get more protection than people who take it in the morning.

The Dutch heart health research studied 300 heart attack survivors who were taking aspirin to cut their chance of getting  a second heart attack. Half the patients studied took 100 milligrams of aspirin after they woke up in the morning. The other half took the same dose at bedtime. The studies were done during two separate three-month periods.

The Heart Health study's author, Dr. Tobias Bonten of the clinical epidemiology department at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, wanted to determine if taking aspirin at night could better thin a person's blood and potentially lower their heart attack risk. Morning hours are a peak period of activity for platelets, blood cells that aid in clotting, which might factor into an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in the morning. Aspirin reduces the activity of platelets.

Dr. Bonten said "Since the 1980s, it's been known that cardiovascular events happen more often in the morning."

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles and a spokesman for the American Heart Association, said "There really have not been studies looking at the timing of aspirin. You would imagine that timing of the dose, morning or evening, wouldn't matter very much. That's why, prior to surgery, patients are told to hold off on aspirin for five to seven days, and why it continues to thin your blood even when you miss a dose," Fonarow said.

An American Heart Association study found that sedentary seniors can use exercise to slow the progression of heart disease. In a statement, study author Dr. Christopher DeFilippi, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said "Our findings suggest biochemical evidence to support the old adage, 'You're never too old to start a physical-activity program to improve cardiac health.'"

The Dutch heart study will be presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Dallas on Tuesday.

Tagged :  world news, heart, attack, stroke, Risks, Aspirin, Study

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