Take Aspirin at Bedtime to Better Protect Heart?
Small trial found the drug reduced blood clotting more when taken at night than in the morning
That's because aspirin has a long-lasting effect on platelets, helping thin the blood for days after it is taken, he said.
"That's why, prior to surgery, patients are told to hold off on aspirin for five to seven days, and why it continues to thin your blood even when you miss a dose," Fonarow said.
But the Dutch researchers found that taking aspirin at bedtime reduced platelet activity more than taking it in the morning, apparently because it headed off the body's normal morning surge in platelet activity.
The team also found that people who took aspirin at bedtime did not suffer any more stomach upset or other side effects than people who took it in the morning, Bonten said.
The researchers also had hoped that taking aspirin at bedtime would lower a person's blood pressure, something that had been observed in an earlier Spanish study. They found no difference, however, between the blood pressures of waking and bedtime aspirin users.
You don't necessarily have to start taking your aspirin at night right away, however. Fonarow said the study involved too few people and did not attempt to determine whether taking a bedtime dose will provide better protection against heart attacks or strokes.
"The key question is whether this is enough of a difference that it would translate to improved clinical outcomes," he said.
Until larger follow-up studies take place, Fonarow said, people prescribed aspirin for heart problems should continue to take it whenever in the day they like.
Another study presented at the American Heart Association meeting found that sedentary seniors can use exercise to slow the progression of heart disease.
Researchers looked at a protein called Troponin T to track the rate of heart injuries in more than 300 people aged 70 and over.
Doctors found that people who had been assigned to a year of supervised physical activity had three times less increase in their Troponin T levels than people who had not regularly exercised.
"Our findings suggest biochemical evidence to support the old adage, 'You're never too old to start a physical-activity program to improve cardiac health,'" study author Dr. Christopher DeFilippi, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a statement.