Are you taking an aspirin a day for your heart? A new study doesn't argue that benefit, it just clarifies how that aspirin helps and surprisingly, the answer is it depends on whether you're a man or a woman.
The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that for women a regular aspirin can help prevent a stroke, but it will not work any magic against heart attacks. For some reason, the opposite is true for men.
"In women aspirin prevents strokes and doesn't have any real effect on heart attack and in men aspirin prevents heart attacks but has no effect on the prevention of strokes. So there appears to be a gender-based difference in the beneficial effect of aspirin," says David Brown, M.D. at Stony Brook University Hospital.
Dr. David Brown, of Stony Brook University Hospital and Health Sciences Center, and his colleagues, analyzed the medical history of nearly a 100,000 people who had no history of heart problems. They discovered the differences are clear when it comes to men and women taking aspirin, regardless of what dose of aspirin they took. So they reached another conclusion from this study, in both men and women, there was a 70% increase in the risk of bleeding among those who took the larger doses even though the bigger dose didn't make any difference in terms of benefit.
So, the journal says it makes sense to take the lowest dose which is just a baby aspirin a day. But, of course, talk to your doctor first before starting an aspirin regimen because you need to be sure that's the right choice for your health.