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Heart Disease overview > Heart Health Q&A >

can aspirin prevent stroke?

Q: I am confused about heart disease and the benefits of aspirin. I read in the newspaper that an aspirin a day may help prevent stroke. Is that true?

A: Daily aspirin therapy has been shown to prevent the recurrence of heart attacks and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends that aspirin use be strongly considered for all men and women who have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease; those who have had a heart attack, unstable angina, ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot), or transient ischemic attacks ("little strokes"); and all women over 65 if not contraindicated by other conditions, such as bleeding disorders, including stomach ulcers.

Even though aspirin is an over-the-counter drug, you should not prescribe it for yourself. First discuss the pros and cons of daily aspirin therapy-and dosage-with your doctor.

Jennifer H. Mieres, M.D., is director of nuclear cardiology and associate professor of clinical medicine at New York University. She's also a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

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