One intriguing question often ignored by adult women is whether or not taking an aspirin a day is healthy for their hearts. It’s not a cut-and-dry situation by any means, but it’s a possibility that females would do well to at least consider the therapy.
Here’s why if you are female, you may want to pop an aspirin a day. If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, a daily pill can prevent heart attack and stroke, among other circulatory problems. Women who have risk factors for heart disease, but don’t yet have the condition, can also gain a great benefit from aspirin. The question invariably boils down to assessing one’s personal situation, which includes factors such as age, cholesterol and blood pressure levels, the presence of diabetes, and other underlying triggers of heart disease.
Solid evidence exists right now to suggest that aspirin can work for women who fall into one or more of these groups:
— Those with cardiovascular disease. — Those who have many risk factors for stroke or heart attack. — Those who are over the age of 65.
That’s right: many health experts believe older women could glean additional heart protection by taking good ‘ole acetylsalicylic acid (which, interestingly, was brought to market way back in 1899) every day alongside their multivitamin, calcium supplements, and whatever other regular capsules they might require for maintaining optimal health. But the problem is that only fewer than half of the women who could benefit (who fit in those three groups) actually do take aspirin. And in this way, potentially life- saving preventive medicine goes unused.
These facts emerged from recent studies and new guidelines from the American Heart Association. What’s clear is that women who are at a higher risk of heart conditions have a good reason to take aspirin. What’s less clear is if women at a lower risk should also do so, because there are side effects tied to the drug. Aspirin therapy, as in using the drug regularly for a purpose other than treating acute pain, can cause adverse effects in your stomach and intestines. That includes bleeding. So for some women, these side effects could be more relevant than the benefits are.
It comes down to you having a discussion with your doctor. Women between 45 and 65 who have one or two risk factors for heart disease should discuss with their physician whether aspirin therapy is appropriate for them or not. Even perfectly healthy women in that age bracket might consider discussing aspirin therapy with their doctor, because there is the slight benefit of potential stroke prevention.
While aspirin therapy certainly isn’t for everybody, it could save the lives of some. And the crucial element that women over 65 should take away is this: it is a very good idea to be taking aspirin daily if you face heart problems. Speak to your doctor about it.