New campaign urges patients to 'Ask about aspirin'

An aspirin a day may be just what the doctor orders, but you should ask first.

That's the message of a new campaign by the University of Minnesota — the "Ask About Aspirin" initiative — aimed at men ages 45-79 and women ages 55-79 and launching statewide this month.

Using low-dose aspirin can lower rates of a first heart attack or stroke by 10 to 20 percent. Heart attacks and strokes are leading causes of death in Minnesota.

University of Minnesota cardiologist Russell Luepker said that less than a third of Minnesotans at risk for heart attack and stroke take a daily, low-dose aspirin.

But aspirin is not for everyone, he said, which is why it's important for patients to consult with their doctors first.

"People do a lot of self-treatment and self-diagnosis," he said. "And while, by and large, it's a safe drug compared to many things that people take. There's no sense in taking it if you don't need it."

The initiative is aimed at men ages 45-79 and women ages 55-79.

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