Information About Low-Dose Aspirin

Men & Women: Protecting Our Hearts & Brains

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Did you know aspirin helps men and women in different ways?

Aspirin can help you stay healthy as you get older. But aspirin is not right for everyone. Learn more about whether you should take low dose aspirin every day. Click here fi-clipboard-notes for more details on aspirin’s benefits and side effects.

  • I read that aspirin helps prevent heart attacks in men. Should women take it too?
    • Yes, women should take aspirin, but to protect their brains not their hearts. Aspirin prevents strokes in women, not heart attacks.

  • How do I decide if aspirin is right for me?
    • How old are you? Are you male or female? Do you have high blood pressure? Answering questions like these will help you decide if low-dose aspirin is right for you. It is important for you to know whether aspirin’s benefits are greater than its potential side effects.

      1. Do you have a risk of having a heart attack or stroke? Your risk depends on your age, sex, general health and family history. You find this out by doing a “risk assessment.”
      2. Will you develop side effects if you take aspirin?
      3. You should only take aspirin if it will protect you more against a heart attack (men) or stroke (women) than it might cause side effects.

      Click here for more details on “risk assessment” and calculating your risk of disease.

  • Should all adults take aspirin to stay healthy?
    • If you are a man over 45 or a woman over 55, talk to your health care provider. Ask if aspirin can protect your health without causing too many side effects. If you are not likely to get heart disease or have a stroke, you may not need to take aspirin.

      Take aspirin if:

      • Heart disease or stroke at an early age runs in your family
      • If you have other risk factors
  • Does aspirin prevent cancer?
    • Aspirin can help prevent different kinds of cancer. We know it prevents colorectal cancer in both men and women. It may help prevent other cancers, too. Ask your doctor if low-dose aspirin once a day can help protect you against heart attack, stroke and cancer.

  • What are the side effects of taking low-dose aspirin?
    • If you take aspirin, you can have bleeding in the stomach. This can be serious. You might have to go to the hospital and get a blood transfusion. Aspirin also may cause bleeding in the brain.

      Aspirin side effects are more common if:

      • You are older
      • You take pain medicines called “NSAIDs,” such as ibuprofen (Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®).
      • You have had stomach ulcers
      • You take other blood thinner medicines, such as warfarin or Plavix®.