Here’s who should be taking aspirin regularly, according to the American Heart Association: People at high risk of heart attack should take a daily low-dose of aspirin (if told to by their physician) and heart attack survivors should regularly take low-dose aspirin.
But new research published in the Journal of Women’s Health found more than half of women who should be taking aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke do not.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States. And while slightly more women die from heart disease every year than men (432,709 women compared to 398,563 men in 2006, the most recent year for which data is available), many Americans (women especially) still mistakenly perceive heart problems as a “man’s disease.” There are too many women who don’t know their risk for heart disease — or what to do about it.
In total, 217,987 women took the survey. Of that pool, 29,701 met the national guidelines for daily aspirin use. Only 41 percent of those who met the recommendation for primary prevention (before heart attack or stroke) reported taking aspirin on a daily basis, the researchers found. Additionally, only 48 percent of those who met the criteria for secondary prevention (after heart attack or stroke) responded “yes” to daily aspirin use.
Researchers also noticed some interesting patterns, among them that women with high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease were more likely to take aspirin.
In the Journal of Women’s Health article, the researchers also note a need for more heart disease education programs for women: “This study provides direct evidence for the need for education about aspirin among clinicians and women for increased awareness and prevention of cardiovascular disease events,” they write.
That doesn’t mean you should go out and buy the family-size bottle of low-dose aspirin just yet. Regular aspirin use doesn’t come without its own risks, such as bleeding or eye disease — and there’s no hard-and-fast rule declaring aspirin a magic bullet for heart disease. Don’t start (or stop) taking aspirin regularly without talking to your doctor first. He or she can help you find the right dosage. If you’re healthy and have no risk for heart disease, you probably don’t need the extra preventive measure.
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This article has been republished in part or full from an Age in Place Professionals member's website. Read the orignal article at the author's website >>