Most of us have seen the commercials and are aware that taking an aspirin a day is beneficial in preventing heart attacks in men.
What about women? Will taking an aspirin a day lower a woman’s risk of heart disease as well? Does aspirin provide us with the same heart protective benefits that it does for men?
According to the Mayo Clinic, when men take an aspirin a day their risk of heart attack is reduced. As aspirin a day does not appear to be of much benefit to men in terms of stroke reduction. However, aspirin definitely hits a home run in terms of reducing their risk of heart attack.
Unfortunately, the answer regarding aspirin usage isn’t as straight-forward for women as it is for men. Whether or not it is effective in preventing heart attacks depends on several factors including your age, whether you are pre- or post-menopausal and whether or not you’ve already suffered a cardiac event. In addition, depending on your age demographic, an aspirin a day may not be beneficial to your heart health at all. Bummer!
The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued the following guidelines for women and daily aspirin usage:
•Prevent first stroke: Taking an aspiring a day is beneficial to women of all ages with respect to preventing a first stroke.
•Prevent first heart attack: Surprisingly, the AHA guidelines indicate that an aspirin a day is only beneficial in preventing a first heart attack if you are over age 65.
•Prevent second heart attack: An aspirin a day is recommended for all women, regardless of age, who’ve suffered a first heart attack in order to help prevent a second heart attack.
•Reduce heart disease risk: An aspirin a day is recommended for women of all ages in order to reduce heart disease risk.
The AHA’s guidelines are supported by findings from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI), which has been studying the effects of aspirin usage in women and whether or not it reduces our risk of heart disease. The WHI is a 15-year, nationwide study specifically focused on health issues impacting postmenopausal women.