Aspirin Helps Prevent Strokes in Women and Heart Attacks
An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association touts the
benefits of aspirin again. According to researchers at Duke University,
aspirin will reduce the risk of heart attacks in men and strokes in
women. This highlights the way drugs affect the genders differently.
Aspirin does carry an increased risk of bleeding. This is the case with
both sexes. Most previous studies looked at aspirin’s effects on men.
This new study compares the effects on both sexes.
According to a press release from Dunk University, cardiology fellow
Jeffrey Berger, MD says that both men and women “who can tolerate
aspirin should be taking the medication for the prevention of
cardiovascular disease.” Of course check with your doctor first.
There could be gastrointestinal side effects associated with aspirin.
This may account for 5% of the population, according to the Duke
University press release. Some people may even be allergic to aspirin.
But overall, the benefits outweigh the known bad side effects.
This study encompassed a new meta-analysis of more than 95,456 patients
by the Duke University cardiologist. Of this total 51,342 were women.
They compared the low dose aspirin (81mg) with a placebo.
The researchers found that aspirin conferred a 12 percent reduction in
risk of cardiovascular events for women, and a 14 percent reduction for
men. "Our findings are particularly noteworthy in that aspirin's main
beneficial effects appeared to be the reduction in the risk of stroke
for women and reduction in the risk of heart attacks for men," according
to Berger. "While our analysis showed that aspirin may have different
effects in men and women, the relatively small number of heart attacks
among women and strokes among men suggest that more research is needed
to better understand any differences in cardiovascular responses to
Here are the details: Specifically, among the 51,342 women in the
analysis, there were 625 strokes and 469 heart attacks. Among the 44,114
men, there were 597 strokes and 1,023 heart attacks.
There was a slight increase bleeding risk. The analysis found that
routine aspirin use for an average of 6.4 years would lead to 2.5 major
bleeding events per 1,000 women and 3 major bleeding events per 1,000
Berger still believes the benefits outweigh the risks, he said "For this
reason, while we believe that many more people could benefit from taking
aspirin, it is important for patients and their physicians to discuss
the issue and weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks to this
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