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Published on October 13, 2016

Aspirin bottles

Does an aspirin a day keep strokes and heart attacks away?

"Women over 50 who take a buffered aspirin every day can lower their risk of death from heart attack or stroke. For postmenopausal women, daily aspirin therapy is even more likely to save their lives," says Micheal Witcik, MD, Gundersen Cardiology.

According to a 30-year Nurses' Health Study, just one low-dose baby aspirin (81 mg) a day can prevent a first stroke or second heart attack and reduce the risk of heart disease in women under 65. These benefits increase in women older than 65. In older women, low-dose aspirin has been shown to prevent a first heart attack.

Dr. Witcik cautions, "Daily aspirin should probably not be taken by healthy women under 50 who have no risk factors for heart disease, or women of any age who have asthma, ulcers, or bleeding or clotting disorders. For people with diabetes, aspirin therapy is recommended only if they are over 60 and have been diagnosed with at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as smoking, family history of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure."

"Though it's sold in every convenience store, aspirin is still a drug, to be taken only after consultation with your primary care provider or a cardiologist," he advises. "He or she will review your medical history, analyze your risk factors for heart disease or stroke, determine how aspirin will interact with your other medicines and decide if you are at risk from increased bleeding."

Talk with your physician to learn if aspirin therapy is right for you.

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