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How can aspirin be used to treat strokes?

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Quick Answer

Doctors have discovered that giving a patient an aspirin right after she has her first stroke can prevent a second stroke, according to WebMD. However, the aspirin needs to be given soon after the patient reaches the hospital, and it does not repair the damage done by the first stroke.

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Full Answer

Based on research cited by WebMD, aspirin works even if the doctors do not know which kind of stroke the patient suffered has suffered. There are basically two types of strokes. One is the ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot in the brain. The other is a hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused when a blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.

Many doctors don't start their patients on an aspirin regimen until a week or so after the stroke, says WebMD. This is after they find out whether the stroke was hemorrhagic or ischemic. Aspirin, which breaks up clots, is considered dangerous for hemorrhagic stroke patients. However, even these patients got some protection from aspirin.

One caveat is that people who have not yet had a stroke should be careful about taking an aspirin a day, according to Healthline. Those who have not have a stroke but are thinking of taking a daily aspirin need to consult with their doctors. This is especially true if the patient is young and not at great risk for a stroke.

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