Dr. Volgman shares if women should take aspirin to protect their hearts.
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Taking Aspirin to Protect the Heart Well, like everything else, it wasn’t until recently that we knew the data on aspirin and women. We have known for decades about men because there was this study done by Harvard on male doctors; it didn’t include one female doctor in that study. It was called “The Physicians’ Health Study,” and so they surveyed these doctors, they asked them to take an aspirin, they asked them to take vitamins to see if it would decrease heart attacks and strokes, and what they found was vitamins didn’t do a thing, but the aspirin decreased their risks of heart attacks and decreased the risk of embolic stroke but not hemorrhagic stroke. It actually increased their risk a little bit of hemorrhagic stroke because aspirin tends to make people bleed. But for women, we had no idea, not until the last few years did we know this, and the doctors at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital did a study on women and how much aspirin they needed, and what they gave them was 100 milligrams every other day, so 50 milligrams a day, and what they found was that it did not benefit women who had no risk factors unless they were over 65 years old. A woman over the age of 65 greatly benefited, decreased the risk of heart attacks and strokes and dying by about 25 to 30%. So I am empowering women over the age of 65 years old to be taking a baby aspirin a day or 100 milligrams every other day. Now for women who have any risk factors or they’ve already had a heart attack or they have diabetes, at any age they need to be taking a baby aspirin. So that’s the difference – a woman over the age of 65 at no risk or low risk should be taking it, and then women who are at any risk, intermediate or high risk, should be taking a baby aspirin, if not higher dose.