Why don't more women take a daily aspirin to prevent heart disease?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women, and evidence-based national guidelines promote the use of daily aspirin for women at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. However, less than half of the women who could benefit from aspirin are taking it, according to an article in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article is available free online at the Journal of Women's Health website.
"Based on this survey, it is evident that the majority of women for whom aspirin is recommended for prevention of cardiovascular disease are not following national guidelines," says Editor-in-Chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health and Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA.
Among more than 200,000 women participating in a web-based survey to assess their risk for cardiovascular disease, only 41%-48% of women for whom aspirin is recommended reported that they took an aspirin daily, according to the study authors, Cathleen Rivera, MD and Texas-based colleagues from Scott and White Healthcare, Navigant Healthcare Consultants, and Texas A&M Health Science Center. The women were more likely to use aspirin if they had a family history of cardiovascular disease or had high cholesterol, as reported in the article "Underuse of Aspirin for Primary and Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Events in Women." The authors conclude that improved educational programs are needed to increase awareness of the benefits of aspirin use to prevent heart disease among women.