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Reader's View: Ask doctor about benefits of low-dose aspirin

Heart attacks and stroke remain a leading cause of death in Minnesota. I therefore read with interest the March 10 article, “Cardiologists urge caution with daily aspirin for non-heart attack patients.” It cautioned against what leading authorities across the U.S. believe to be an effective, life-saving measure. While I agree it is important to discuss the pros and cons of prevention options, it is also essential to share factual information.

 The evidence is clear. Using low-dose aspirin on a daily basis has been proven to lower the rates of a first heart attack or stroke. Yet fewer than one in three people at risk actually do so. Highly respected organizations such as the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota Department of Health and many others agree that appropriately screened men and women can benefit from aspirin therapy.

No two patients are the same, however. That’s why, as with other disease-prevention measures, it is important to consult a physician before beginning aspirin use.

“Ask About Aspirin,” a Minnesota Heart Health awareness campaign sponsored by the University of Minnesota in partnership with local health care professionals in Hibbing, gained national recognition for its success. This program is now being expanded statewide.

I encourage readers to learn the facts about aspirin use for themselves by visiting askaboutaspirin.org and then consult their physician.  

Dr. Russell V. Luepker

Minneapolis

The writer is a Mayo professor in the Division of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

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