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Women's Health

Whether to take aspirin daily?

09/01/2006

Question:

Someone told me that daily intake of Asprin is good for post 40s ladies. I just wanted to know whether I should take this medicine and does this have any side effects? I am 50 year old working woman from Inda. I started menopause 5 years back. I am 5`5" and weigh 64kg. I am otherwise a healthy lady. I have no high B.P. and sugar.

Answer:

It is wise to think about your heart, as heart disease is the number one cause of death in women. To avoid coronary artery disease (hardening of the arteries of the heart), an individual should exercise regularly, eat right, and know their "numbers" - blood pressure, glucose, total cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol. In addition, if you smoke, you should stop, as smoking is a major risk factor for heart problems.

I can not tell you your exact risk for having a heart attack over the next 10 years. If you find out your cholesterol (total and HDL), and systolic blood pressure, you can go to the web site below and enter your information.  Your 10-year risk will then be calculated. The decision of whether or not to start taking aspirin depends upon the 10-year risk.

A risk of 10% or greater is considered high risk, and the United States Preventive Task Force recommends daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack. For risks less than 10%, the decision is not as clear. The major risks from taking aspirin (developing a bleeding stomach ulcer, or bleeding into the brain) is extremely rare but is more common than heart attacks in younger people. So, you will need to make this decision based on your actual risk.

Related Resources:

Risk Assessment Tool for Coronary Heart Disease

For more information:

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University