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High Blood Pressure

Asprin or no asprin

02/22/2008

Question:

I am a 52 year old female with blood pressure of 108/60 . My question is my doctor told me to take asprin daily as I am over 50 years old. However, another doctor suggested I should not take asprin as I have no hypertension. What is the correct opinion? I am confused.

Answer:

Hello and thank you for your question.  This is a very important and popular question, and one that is continually evolving as more data is compiled.  There are several schools of thought regarding aspirin therapy and unfortunately opinions differ regarding its use.  Most experts agree, that whether you need daily aspirin therapy depends on your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Daily aspirin therapy helps lower the risk of heart attack and clot-related strokes, but it's not appropriate for everyone given some of the side effects (e.g. increased risk of ulcer formation, excessive bleeding) associated with its use.  Its use is generally indicated if you've suffered a heart attack or stroke, or you're at high risk of either. If so you should consult your cardiologist for his or her approval.

Here are some risk factors to consider when contemplating daily aspirin use (Adopted from the Mayo Clinic):

If you don't have any of these risk factors, then it is probably in your best interest not to take daily aspirin.  If however you have 2 or more of these risk factors, then you should discuss in depth your options with a cardiologist.

I hope I have been of some help, and I wish you the best with your health.

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Response by:

Kaine C Onwuzulike, MD, PhD Kaine C Onwuzulike, MD, PhD
Resident of Nuerological Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University