Adjustments to aspirin doses may help individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes avoid heart complications

Individuals who have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes may have to take multiple diabetes medications in order to manage their blood sugar levels. However, upping their daily doses of aspirin may be a simple way for people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes to protect their heart health.

A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine indicated that 325-milligram daily doses of aspirin may be an effective way for diabetics to reduce their risk of experiencing a heart attack or a recurring cardiovascular event.

The researchers noted that individuals who take doses that are lower than this amount may not obtain these benefits.

The study involved data from 21 previous clinical trials that enrolled patients who had experienced a heart attack or stroke.

Participants who took 325 milligrams of aspirin daily had a 23 percent reduced risk of death caused by heart disease, the study's results showed.

This finding may be noteworthy since about 60 percent of people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes die from cardiovascular disease, the scientists noted. They also said that due to the fact that aspirin is an over-the-counter medication, pharmacists can easily recommend this type of treatment to their diabetic customers.

"The pharmacists' best role for chronic disease management is working proactively with physicians and patients. Whether that means working directly with the physician, and consulting about prescribed medications, or when the patient is deciding about whether or not to take aspirin as part of a treatment plan," said lead researcher Scot Simpson.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), heart attack and stroke occur two times more often in individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, compared to the general population.

The organization recommends that diabetics begin lifestyle changes such as a diabetic diet and exercise regimen to help lower their blood pressure, cholesterol levels and HbA1c scores, which may in turn lower their risk of developing cardiovascular complications.

Steps to achieve these results can include using herbs and spices, as opposed to salt, to season food, and engaging in at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day, the ADA suggests.