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Nix the Aspirin for Heart Protection

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Just when you thought you were protecting yourself from heart disease with an aspirin a day, a new Dutch study has shown that if you’re a healthy woman, don’t bother.

According to Reuter’s Health, the new report says 50 women would need to take aspirin for 10 years to help just one -- and that's assuming these are high risk women.

"There are very few women who actually benefit," said Dr. Jannick Dorresteijn of University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands. "If you don't want to treat 49 patients for nothing to benefit one, you shouldn't treat anyone with aspirin."

Women who have already suffered a heart attack or a stroke should continue the daily aspirin regimen, but as for taking aspirin as a preventive drug, researchers have not found it to make a difference.

The bad news about this report is that diligent, healthy women thought were protecting themselves from heart disease only to have the rug pulled out from under them.

The good news is taking aspirin on a daily basis has side effects that a healthy woman no longer has to worry about, such as hemorrhagic stroke and gastrointestinal bleeding that increases risk of a stomach ulcer. Too much aspirin can also cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears and in some cases, eventual hearing loss).

The bottom line is the healthiest and safest way to protect your heart and prevent heart disease is to eat right and exercise. Aspirin is no longer the quick fix for healthy women. There is no quick fix. Unfortunately.


Reuters – US Edition - Aspirin not worth risks for healthy women: study. Web. 28, November, 2011

Mayo Clinic – Health - Daily aspirin therapy: Understand the benefits and risks. Web. 28, November, 2011

Reviewed November 28, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

Great article - I think, also, that managing stress and building optimism are big factors.  Martin Seligman's book Flourish speaks to this, "The trend of fewer deaths, both cardiac and deaths from all causes, held across the entire distribution of optimism, indicating again that optimism protected women and pessimism hurt them relative to the average."  But, then, it is the optimists that tend to think that diet and exercise make a difference.  Fortunately, while much of our optimism/pessimism is thought to be inborn, we can influence our set-point.  Sometimes, that may be the first step to improving cardiac health. 

Cathy Hartt, RN, MS, CNM

Midwife of Changes Wellbeing Coaching

November 30, 2011 - 7:25pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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