Low doses of aspirin may help some prevent stroke
September 3, 1999
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT)
From Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland
(CNN) -- While aspirin is commonly used as a blood thinner for people who have cardiovascular disease, a new study in the journal Stroke shows a low dose of aspirin may be used to prevent first-time stroke. But too much aspirin may cause a stroke.
Every year 730,000 Americans suffer a stroke. These brain attacks affect people in different ways, including difficulties understanding speech, behavior problems and paralysis.
A study of 70,000 female nurses found those who took six or fewer aspirin per week reduced their risk of ischemic stroke. Ischemic stroke is the most common form of stroke and is caused by blood clots.
But the study also found those women who took 15 or more aspirin per week doubled their risk of hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain.
"It may take only very low doses of aspirin, as low as one tablet per day or every other day. Even the baby aspirin, 81 milligrams, every other day seems to have some benefits," said lead researcher Dr. JoAnn Manson of Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Previous studies have shown that regular aspirin use in people who have already had a heart attack or stroke can help prevent a recurrence. But aspirin use in healthy people has been controversial.
Despite her findings, Manson said it would be premature to recommend an aspirin a day for healthy women and men.
"It is important for patients to discuss with their physicians whether their risk factor status would suggest that aspirin might be beneficial in primary prevention," Manson said.
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Brigham and Women's Hospital
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
American Academy of Neurology
Stroke Prevention Guidelines Introduction
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