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Aspirin therapy - look before you leap

Doctors often recommend daily aspirin therapy to head off heart attacks, but is it a good idea to take aspirin to ward off strokes ?

Researchers have found that aspirin helps prevent recurrences in people who have already had a heart attack or stroke, but they aren't sure whether healthy people with no history of heart or artery disease should use aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke.

Ischemic strokes, the most common kind, are caused by blood clots. Since aspirin helps keep blood cells slippery and less likely to clump up, it may help prevent this type of stroke. For the same reason, however, it may increase your risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

The reason may be the amount. In a recent study of almost 80,000 women, those who took one to six tablets of aspirin per week had a lower risk of ischemic stroke, but women who took more than 15 tablets per week were approximately twice as likely to suffer hemorrhagic strokes.

The risk was even higher for older women with high blood pressure. They were three times more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke if they took more than 15 aspirin a week than women who took lower doses.

If you would like to try aspirin therapy, talk it over with your doctor first.

     
     

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