Aspirin also known as acetyl salicylic acid has a greater role in the prevention of heart attack and stroke. Recently it has been found that aspirin prevents heart attack and stroke different among men and women.
In men, aspirin possibly reduce the risk of first stroke and has been shown to reduce the risk of a first heart attack. Aspirin has also been shown to reduce the risk of a second heart attack and stroke and lower the risk of certain cancers among men. Based on these findings, low-dose aspirin therapy was recommended by leading organizations, including the American Heart Association, for the prevention of cardiovascular disease among high-risk women and all women over 65, regardless of risk level.
Women’s Health Study (2005) examined the use of low-dose aspirin among nearly 40,000 women for 10 years. The study showed that:
Aspirin did not prevent first heart attacks or death from cardiovascular disease among women under the age of 65.
Aspirin reduced the incidence of stroke by 17 percent in the study group, a statistically significant finding.
Among women over age 65, low-dose aspirin reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events by 26 percent. However, this benefit has to be weighed against aspirin’s increased risk for bleeding.
The studies also shed light on the most effective dosage. In general, it appeared that low-dose aspirin (at 81 mg) was equally as effective as full-strength (352 mg) aspirin. In fact, fewer than half of women who are candidates for aspirin therapy are actually taking aspirin.
In 2007, the American Heart Association guidelines suggest that women over 65 should consult their physician about starting an aspirin regimen, regardless of their risk level for heart disease.
Aspirin and heart attack
Aspirin reduces the blood’s “stickiness,” preventing the formation of additional blood clots.
Aspirin and hypertension in pregnancy
In pregnant women sometimes aspirin is recommended to preventive measure against preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure). Unless prescribed by a physician, taking aspirin is generally not a good idea during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters.