Does Aspirin Lower Blood Pressure?

Does Aspirin lower blood pressure? The World Health Organization estimates that 1.28 billion adults worldwide have high blood pressure (hypertension). Additionally, it is a leading cause of premature death. Therefore, lowering blood pressure is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but is aspirin the answer?

Key takeaways:
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    Low-dose aspirin when taken at bedtime may lower your blood pressure.
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    The risks of aspirin include bleeding, stomach ulcers/bleeding, and heartburn.
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    Do not use aspirin when pregnant unless advised to by your doctor.
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    Incorporating the DASH diet, exercise, and weight loss into your healthy lifestyle can help reduce blood pressure without the need for medications.
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    Always talk with your doctor and/or pharmacist before starting any medication including a low-dose aspirin.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, as known as hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure is consistently above normal values. Typically high blood pressure is diagnosed when either your systolic pressure (top number) is greater than 140 and/or your diastolic pressure (bottom number) is greater than 90 (i.e. 140/90). Some doctors may diagnose high blood pressure when it is above 130/80 depending on your other health conditions, such as diabetes.

Does aspirin help to lower blood pressure?

Aspirin taken at bedtime has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Conversely, aspirin taken upon awakening in the morning has been shown to increase blood pressure. Thus, the true effects of aspirin on blood pressure are not fully understood. The studies lack a control group (placebo group) to truly compare the effects of aspirin on blood pressure. However, aspirin has been shown to reduce cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke) in patients with high blood pressure.

Does baby or low-dose aspirin help?

Taking a baby or low-dose aspirin at bedtime has been shown to reduce blood pressure. This lower dose of aspirin was sufficient to produce these blood pressure changes in hypertensive patients.

Does aspirin lower blood pressure immediately?

It is unknown but unlikely that aspirin’s blood pressure-lowering ability is immediate. Most of the studies looked at the effects of aspirin on blood pressure after the patients had taken the drug for 3 months.

Additionally, many of the studies were short-term studies and thus the long-term (greater than 3 months) effects of aspirin on blood pressure are unknown.

Side effects and risks of aspirin

The benefits of aspirin must be weighed against the risks. The common side effects of aspirin include:

  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers/bleeding
  • Heartburn
  • Rash

Aspirin like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been shown to cause a moderate increase in blood pressure, especially when using higher doses. The studies looking at low-dose aspirin did show that when taken upon awakening, aspirin caused an increase in blood pressure.

Can you take aspirin when pregnant?

It is not recommended to take aspirin while pregnant unless advised by your doctor. Low-dose aspirin can be safely used in pregnant patients with a history of clotting disorders, preeclampsia, and several miscarriages.

However, higher doses of aspirin can cause congenital abnormalities in the developing fetus. It can also cause a blood vessel to close prematurely in the heart of the developing fetus and increase the risk of brain bleeds and kidney disorders.

Can you take aspirin daily?

The daily use of aspirin increases the risk of side effects such as bleeding and stomach ulcers/bleeding. However, baby aspirin (low-dose aspirin) has fewer side effects when taken once daily. Additionally, there are enteric-coated aspirin tablets available which can reduce the risk of stomach issues with daily use.

How else can you treat high blood pressure?

The treatment of high blood pressure involves multiple factors in your life. Although medications are one way to lower blood pressure, they are not without risks. Therefore, here are some healthy ways to improve your blood pressure.

Diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is recommended to treat and prevent high blood pressure. The DASH diet consists of eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. In addition, sodium should be reduced to a maximum of 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day.

By eating foods high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and fiber and low in saturated fats and sodium, one can reduce their blood pressure in as little as two weeks.

Exercise

It is recommended that you get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. This can help you lower your blood pressure as well as lose weight. Common activities include: walking, bicycling, jogging, and swimming.

Before starting a new exercise routine, check with your healthcare provider to see if it is safe for you to do so.

Weight loss

If you need help quitting smoking, talk to your doctor as there are many different programs and medications to assist you.

Losing weight is associated with many health benefits including the lowering of blood pressure. Weight loss is considered one of the most effective lifestyle changes for managing blood pressure. It is estimated that for every 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of weight loss, your blood pressure may go down 1 millimeter of mercury (mmHg).

Smoking cessation

Quitting smoking has multiple health benefits including reducing blood pressure. This is especially true if you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure. The harmful side effects of smoking can be reversed in as little as one month.

Overall, the long-term effects of aspirin on blood pressure are unknown. However, the cardiovascular benefits of low-dose aspirin outweigh the possible side effects. Therefore, a baby aspirin before bedtime in combination with a healthy diet, exercise, weight loss, and smoking cessation can help lower your blood pressure without the use of other medications.

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