Question: How do I know whether I should be on aspirin for prevention of heart disease?
Answer: Well, we reserve aspirin use for individuals that we view at high risk. How we define high risk is, number one, having the presence of hardening of the arteries, either by having a heart attack or being told by testing that you have heart disease. That would be one indication.
The second indication would be the use of aspirin in people who we would view at risk that is similarly as high as having the disease itself. So an example of a person who we would view as having a heart disease equivalent is a diabetic patient. Because a diabetic is at higher risk for heart disease, aspirin should be also used in these people.
And then, to define the use of aspirin in other individuals would be based upon their risk factors as well as age. So somebody over the age of 50 -- if you're a male over the age of 50 and you have at least one risk factor, or if you're a woman over the age of 60 and have at least one risk factor -- then aspirin may be an important therapy to reduce your risk of heart attacks, especially in men, and stroke, especially in women. It is important that you talk to your health care provider about aspirin for primary prevention.