In addition to cholesterol lowering and control of the other risk factors, including Diabetes, there are other treatments to help lower your risk from Heart disease. Aspirin, a drug that has been used for centuries to relieve pain and reduce fever, has been shown to reduce the risk of future Heart Attacks in patients who have already had one. Guidelines for the use of aspirin in people who are at high risk for developing heart disease have not been set. Aspirin seems to work by reducing the stickiness of the platelets (the cells that cause blood clotting) so that blood clots do not form as readily.
After bypass surgery, patients treated with aspirin have fewer early closures of the newly grafted blood vessels in their hearts.
Beta-blockers, another type of drug, have been shown to reduce death rates in patients who have heart disease. Beta-blockers slow the heart and make it beat with less contracting force-so blood pressure drops and the heart works less hard.
Many patients with heart disease and those at high risk for developing it, have high blood pressure. Other drugs may be needed to reach a normal blood pressure.
The amount of risk reduction shown by aspirin and beta-blockers is similar to that of cholesterol lowering, making all three important in the treatment of heart disease.
Revision date: July 7, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD