Baby aspirin and blood thinners for blood pressure? What works and what doesn't

Does baby aspirin lower blood pressure? 
Can it be taken with a blood thinner? 
What are the natural ways to lower blood pressure?

Thanks for these very COOL 😎 questions! 
I wish the temperatures were a little cooler.

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A bottle of Bayer baby aspirin Photo credit: Science History Institute*      Photo credit: Science History Institute*   

Here's a little bit of aspirin trivia. In 2000, experts found that children who take aspirin can develop Reye’s syndrome. Reye's syndrome is a rare disease that causes brain and liver damage after a viral infection or the flu. So production of these tasty tablets stopped.

Now-a-days, you don’t have to be a kid to take baby aspirin. Almost 29 million Americans take it to “thin the blood.” 

I don’t know how much “thinning” happens with that, though. Aspirin doesn’t change the thickness, or viscosity, of the blood. But it does prevent heart attacks and strokes in people who have already had one.

Aspirin therapy is not recommended for folks who haven't already had a cardiac event or stroke. For these folks, the risk of serious bleeding outweighs the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Blood thinners come in two kinds: Anti-platelets and anti-coagulants

Aspirin is an anti-platelet drug. It helps to keep the platelets in your blood from sticking together. So it takes longer for your blood to clot. 

People take a daily 81 milligram dose of aspirin -- what was the baby’s dose -- to make it less likely that their body will form a clot. And because of that, they have a reduced risk of heart attack or stroke. People with atherosclerosis usually take anti-platelet drugs.

Drugs like heparin and warfarin are anti-coagulants. These drugs get in the way of fibrin formation which is needed to form clots and stop bleeding. People who have atrial fibrillation traditionally have taken anti-coagulants.

You can combine some blood thinners, but not others.  Recommendations for combining any medications should always come from your doctor.

I’m glad that you asked about natural ways to lower blood pressure. These are some pharma-free ways to do it:
  • Weight loss, 5% of body weight brings about significant benefits
  • Exercise, any is better than none
  • Stress reduction,  methods like prayer and meditation
  • Good sleep, 8 hours in bed that includes 7 hours asleep
  • Hibiscus tea, 3-4 cups a day
  • Ground flax seeds, 2-3 tablespoons a day
  • Watermelon, a lot of it -- 2 lbs a day
  • Red wine, with alcohol removed
  • Vegetables, raw is better than cooked, but cooked is good too

Neither aspirin nor other blood thinners change blood pressure. But I suppose, if you had a major cut and were bleeding a lot, aspirin could prevent a scab from forming. And that could cause enough blood loss to lower your blood pressure.

High blood pressure is the #1 risk factor for death and disability around the world. So it's worth making the effort to add these natural ways to lower blood pressure to your life. Likewise, you should also avoid the things that contribute to high blood pressure. i.e., animal products, smoking, being sedentary, excess salt, and alcohol.

A 2014 JAMA study of more than 89,000 people showed that folks who eat meat-free diets (that includes red meat, chicken, fish, pork, etc) cut their risk of high blood pressure by 50%. But those eating meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free have 75% lower risk.

The more animal-free you can be, the better.

What Would Peggy Do?  I'm happy to tell you.

*Science History Institute. Bayer Orange Flavoured Children's Chewable Aspirin Bottle. Photograph, 2017. Science History Institute. Philadelphia.
Yokoyama Y, Nishimura K, Barnard ND, Takegami M, Watanabe M, Sekikawa A, Okamura T, Miyamoto Y. Vegetarian diets and blood pressure: a meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Apr;174(4):577-87. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.14547. PMID: 24566947.


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