cbs4

Dr. Dave Hnida's Blog

To Protect Your Heart, Timing Is Everything

View Comments
(Photo Illustration by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Recent Blog Entries From Dr. Dave Hnida


Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorIf you’re like me, you pop a baby aspirin everyday to lower the risk of a heart attack.

The reasoning: aspirin “thins” the blood, and by doing so, makes it less likely you’ll throw a clot into a heart artery.

But it turns out the when of taking an aspirin may be a key factor as to how well it’s going to protect your ticker.

A new study from the American Heart Association says if you’re going to take an aspirin, the best route is to make it a nightcap — meaning an aspirin at night may be more protective than an aspirin in morning.

Here’s why:

Most heart attacks happen between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. In fact, the rate is 40 percent higher than any other time of the day or night. These early morning hours are when the blood is the “thickest” and most likely to clog the arteries supplying blood to the heart.

That means you want your aspirin to the on board and thinning things out in that critical time of the morning. But aspirin doesn’t work within minutes.

Unlike its ability to ease a pounding headache within 15 to 30 minutes, blood thinning is another story — it needs a few hours to make your blood flow more smoothly (so washing one down with an AM cup of coffee may not make it as effective as it needs to be.)

Which is why the best time to pop that pill may be before hitting the sack — giving it time to be on board and working by the time you roll out of bed.

As you’ve heard before, a preventative aspirin isn’t for everyone since it can have side effects, such as stomach bleeding. Which makes me think — might aspirin eat up your stomach as you’re lying down at night? Especially if you have reflux?

So, a tad earlier in the evening, rather than a dose off of the nightstand might be a better route — as well as a little nosh of something to coat the stomach as you swallow that protective pill down.

One final point: More is not necessarily better. The standard dose of a protective aspirin remains baby-sized — 81 mg.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus