How does aspirin prevent blood clots?


Aspirin prevents pain by stopping the formation of chemicals called prostaglandins, which help to send pain signals to the brain. Aspirin specifically locks down an enzyme called cyclooxygenase 2 (or COX-2), that makes prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins, however, also cause tiny particles in blood (known as platelets) to stick together and form a blood clot. By inhibiting prostaglandin production, aspirin slows clot production.

This can be bad. When you have a bloody nose, for example, you want a clot to form. Blood clots, of course, can be damaging as well. Some can cause heart attacks by clogging the blood vessels bringing oxygen and energy to the beating heart. A doctor, therefore, may suggest to adult patients that they take aspirin to prevent heart attacks. Aspirin can also help people who've already had a heart attack stay alive.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.