A new study is showing that an aspirin taken at bedtime may reduce morning heart attacks. And it’s fantastic news for those who take a daily low-dose aspirin regimen for heart health.
Researchers studied 290 at-risk patients over two three-month periods of time. The study found that taking one 100mg aspirin tablet before bedtime was shown to be more effective than when taken in the morning. Patients who took their aspirin dose in evening were also found to have lower platelet levels. Platelets cause the formation of blood clots and have been shown to reach their peak first thing in the morning. Thus, the risk of a heart attack is greater just before or right after one wakes up.
The study focused on at-risk patients with heart disease who had been taking aspirin daily for an extended periods. During two three-month periods of time the participants were made to take 100mg of aspirin either at bedtime or first thing in the morning. The the end of each session the patient’s platelet activity and blood pressure were measured. While the blood pressure was found to show no significant reduction by taking aspirin before bedtime the platelet count was found to show significant reductions in the morning if aspirin was taken at night. Dr. Tobias Bonten, an author of the study and resident at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, presented his findings on Tuesday at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Dallas. In his presentation he called for more research in order to confirm that the platelet activity reduction does indeed lead to fewer strokes and heart attacks. Dr. Bonten went on to add that this simple change, merely switching aspirin consumption from morning to bedtime, could prove beneficial for the millions of people who rely on daily aspirin intake for heart health.
Dr. Sidney Smith Jr., a Cardiology professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, says that aspirin helps to keep platelets from clotting. This is one of the main causes of both heart attacks and strokes. Anything that can be done to reduce the platelet count in the morning hours has proven to be beneficial.
Prior research suggests that heart attacks are more severe and more likely to occur between the hours of 6am and 12pm. High blood pressure is often the cause of heart attacks, however, elevated blood pressure doesn’t seem to be affected by taking the aspirin in the evening hours. In fact, most study participants showed lower blood pressure readings in the morning hours.
The latest study showing that taking aspirin at bedtime to reduce morning heart attacks is certainly good news. Every year over 700,000 Americans suffer a heart attack. And approximately 600,000 people die annually from heart disease. Taking aspirin before bedtime is a small step to take and can turn out to have great health benefits. Check with your doctor before beginning daily a daily aspirin regimen, as the benefits and risks vary per person.
By Mary Kay Love