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A Little Aspirin Can Go a Long Way for Senior Women With Heart Problems

Aspirin may reduce the risk of death for older women with a history of heart problems or stroke, according to the results of a study published in the March 2009 issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.


Researchers analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, which tracked 93,676 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79 for eight years.


For this particular study, the researchers looked at the data of a subset of 8,928 women from the study with a history of heart failure, stroke or mini-stroke, angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery.  The women were followed for an average of 6.5 years.


Women who took aspirin regularly had a 25% lower risk of death from cardiovascular complications compared to those who took little to no aspirin and a 14% reduced risk of death from any cause.


The lowered mortality risk was especially prevalent among women over the age of 70.


The researchers also found that lower doses of aspirin (81 mg daily) may be just as effective as higher dosages (325mg daily).


The effectiveness of lower doses is an important finding because higher doses of aspirin are known to increase the risk of internal bleeding.


The researchers note that further randomized clinical tests are necessary to determine the optimum dosage necessary.


Aspirin can provide many benefits, but is it important to consult your doctor before taking daily doses. People with a bleeding or blood clotting disorder, asthma, or stomach ulcers should avoid using aspirin.

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