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A Primer on the Makeup of Blood

The blood pumping through your veins and within your vital organs is a small miracle we often take for granted. Knowing more about it is key to understanding how an aspirin regimen for stroke survivors helps to prevent another clot-related (ischemic) stroke. In each drop of blood, you’ll find:

  • Red blood cells: they’re like oxygen delivery trucks. They carry the oxygen we need to live, wherever it’s needed.
  • White blood cells: these tiny soldiers help fight infections
  • Platelets: the sticky cells that come together and create a clot when you get a cut
  • Plasma: the fluid part of blood that makes it all happen, delivering nutrients, hormones and proteins all over the body

Blockages Cause Ischemic Strokes

Platelets form clots, but to understand why that is, you need to know about substances called prostaglandins. These substances are what makes platelets sticky, and when you get a cut, your platelets produce them so they can form a clot to stop the bleeding.

And while a clot on the outside is good – otherwise you’d continue to bleed – a clot within your blood vessels can be a bad thing. The clotting action within your blood vessels may happen because of another sticky substance: plaque.

Made up of calcium, cholesterol, and fat – among other things – the stickiness of plaque combined with the stickiness of your platelets can lead to a blockage. And blockages can keep blood from flowing.

Blood Flow: Aspirin Makes it Possible

If your doctor prescribed an aspirin regimen, it’s because aspirin makes your clotting cells (platelets) less sticky. And if they’re less sticky, they’re less likely to clot, helping prevent another heart attack or clot-related (ischemic) stroke.

THE HEART HEALTH RISK TOOL1

LEARN YOUR RISK OF A HEART ATTACK OR STROKE

Do you know your risk factors?2 Find out and get a personalized heart-healthy action plan to share with your doctor.

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Bayer Low Dose Aspirin bottle next to unmarked prescription bottles

MANAGING RISK:

WHY PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS MAY NOT BE ENOUGH

If you take prescription medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, they may not be enough to protect your heart. Talk to your doctor about whether these medications are enough for you and whether adding an aspirin regimen can help further reduce the risk of another heart attack or clot-related (ischemic) stroke.

TELL ME HOW ASPIRIN HELPS

Aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.

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