Aspirin: Stroke risk drops by half if taken at the right time of day, study finds

More than 100,000 people experience a stroke in the UK each year, with over a third of those strokes being fatal. A long-term study of thousands of aspirin users found that taking the life-saving medication at the right time of day can reduce the risk of a stroke by half.

Taking medication at the right time of day can help your body process and distribute it
Taking aspirin at the right time of day can reduce the risk of stroke, a study has found

A recent long-term study into the use of aspirin to lower the risk of stroke in older people has found that taking the painkiller at the right time of day can reduce the chance of stroke by up to 50 per cent.

Strokes typically occur when the flow of blood to the brain is cut off, either by a clogged artery or a burst blood vessel. They are one of the most common medical emergencies in the UK, with over 100,000 people suffering one each year.

Rapid medical treatment is essential to stop long-term damage or death in stroke sufferers as 38,000, more than a third, are killed by the condition.

A Spanish study by the University of Vigo monitored the prevalence of cardiovascular death in 10,000 men, based on whether they took a low dose of aspirin in the morning or the evening.

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They found that taking the blood-thinning aspirin before going to bed halved the likelihood of a fatal stroke in this large study group.

Study authors say that this is due to the body’s “pharmocokinetic” process, through which it breaks down and distributes medication throughout the body, which they say boosts aspirin’s effectiveness when taken at night.

This allows for the aspirin to be fully activated by the morning, when blood pressure and stress levels tend to be highest.

When taken in the morning, the body’s pharmocokinetic process has yet to fully kick in, and so the aspirin becomes less beneficial.

Though aspirin can be purchased over the counter as a painkiller, you should consult with your doctor before taking it to prevent stroke.

Side effects of aspirin include gastrointestinal issues from cramp to stomach ulcers, which can be alleviated by taking the painkiller with food.

What are the stroke symptoms?

The NHS has a simple system for identifying stroke symptoms that has been cornerstone of public messaging on stroke prevention for over a decade – you have to act FAST.

  • F ace – the face may have dropped on 1 side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.
  • A rms – the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in 1 arm.
  • S peech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
  • T ime – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

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