January 16, 2024/Heart Health

Can Aspirin Lower Blood Pressure?

Don’t believe the rumors about aspirin being a magic way to lower BP

Closeup of hands holding a glass of water and an aspirin

It’s pretty clear that high blood pressure isn’t healthy. The stress it places on your arteries and circulatory system increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death globally.


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Given that threat, it’s only natural that many folks with high blood pressure (hypertension) want a pill to magically resolve the issue.

So, could aspirin be that solution? Let’s get the answer from cardiologist Luke Laffin, MD.

Does aspirin lower blood pressure?

Research points to the answer being no. (Not the news you wanted, right?)

“Aspirin is not something that has been shown to lower blood pressure,” says Dr. Laffin. “People certainly want it to, of course — but it just doesn’t work that way as a medication. We do not recommend it.”

There’s been speculation that aspirin taken before bedtime might help folks with hypertension. A few studies showed potential promise, too. “But that theory has never been borne out,” he adds.


The connection between aspirin and blood pressure

So, how did aspirin gain a reputation as a blood pressure-lowering hero? It probably grew from years of doctors recommending a daily dose of aspirin following a heart attack or stroke given its ability to prevent clots and thin the blood.

But even that advice has changed, notes Dr. Laffin.

Newer research shows a lack of a net benefit (plus risks) in taking a daily aspirin for heart disease. Updated guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association now advocate for infrequent aspirin use.

“From a primary prevention perspective, aspirin is not typically recommended anymore because of risks associated with bleeding in the GI [gastrointestinal] tract,” explains Dr. Laffin.

Other risks of taking aspirin

While aspirin is generally considered a mild nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), it isn’t without risks. Potential side effects include:

  • Kidney injury.
  • Liver injury.
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding.
  • Headaches.
  • Nausea.
  • Upset stomach.

Tips to lower blood pressure

So, if popping aspirin isn’t a solution for lowering blood pressure, what is? (Given that 1 out of 3 people worldwide are living with high blood pressure, it’s a question many people want answered.)

Dr. Laffin offers these six suggestions. None of these lifestyle changes are as easy as taking a pill, but they can bring results.

  • Reduce sodium intake. A low-sodium diet can bring an immediate and significant reduction in blood pressure. “It’s one of the biggest things you can do to drive that number down,” says Dr. Laffin. (Here’s where sodium may be hiding in your food. It’s a long list.)
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds and having obesity can put a strain on your heart and damage blood vessels to drive up your blood pressure. Losing just a few pounds can have a big impact on your blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity strengthens your heart, allowing it to pump blood more efficiently and lower your blood pressure. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. (Learn how to get started.)
  • Eat wisely. What’s on your plate can make a difference in your blood pressure. Choose antioxidant-rich foods high in potassium, selenium, calcium, L-arginine and vitamins C and E.
  • Get enough ZZZs. An erratic sleep schedule increases your odds of high blood pressure. Regularly getting at least six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night can help you manage your blood pressure.
  • Limit stress. Chronic stress can keep your blood pressure elevated and lead to lifestyle habits that elevate blood pressure. Try some meditation to help keep your blood pressure better managed.

Final thoughts

While there are medications available to help lower blood pressure, making and sticking with healthy lifestyle choices offers you the best opportunity to keep readings at desired levels.

“High blood pressure is so multifactorial,” says Dr. Laffin. “It's usually a combination of excess weight, a lack of exercise and dietary patterns, as well as genetics and age. It’s not just one thing.” So, don’t expect one thing — like aspirin — to magically lower blood pressure.

Learn more about our editorial process.

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