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Last Updated: Aug 19th, 2006 - 22:18:38

Cardiology Channel
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Latest Research : Cardiology

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Large Percentage of African Americans and Diabetics Not Using Aspirin to Ward Off Heart Disease
Jan 24, 2006, 18:04, Reviewed by: Dr. Priya Saxena

According to lead author, Anne B. Newman, M.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology and medicine, GSPH, aspirin therapy should be better targeted to high-risk individuals.

In recent years, regular aspirin use by older adults to prevent heart disease has increased, particularly among those at high risk, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) and others. However, the study, published in the November issue of the American Journal of Medicine, found that African Americans and diabetics -- two groups that could benefit most from preventive aspirin therapy -- are under-represented in this trend.

The University of Pittsburgh investigators, along with collaborators from medical centers around the U.S. and in Europe, measured regular aspirin use among 2,163 African American and Caucasian older adults without cardiovascular disease in the late 1990s and again between 2002 and 2003. They also determined 10-year heart disease risk scores for all participants.

During 1997 and 1998, 17 percent of the participants were regular aspirin users. Aspirin use increased with their risk of heart disease, from 13 percent in those with a 10-year low-risk profile to 23 percent in those with a 10-year high-risk profile. However, blacks were less likely to use aspirin (13 percent) than whites (20 percent). Between 1997 and 1998 and 2002 and 2003, aspirin use almost doubled (from 17 percent to 32 percent) among those still free of coronary heart disease. However, despite their particularly high heart disease risk, diabetics were not more likely to use aspirin than nondiabetic individuals, even in 2002 and 2003.

According to lead author, Anne B. Newman, M.D., M.P.H., professor of epidemiology and medicine, GSPH, aspirin therapy should be better targeted to high-risk individuals. This would decrease the incidence of side effects of aspirin therapy, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke, among those who are at low risk for heart disease.

- November issue of the American Journal of Medicine


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The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences include the schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the Graduate School of Public Health. The schools serve as the academic partner to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Together, their combined mission is to train tomorrow's health care specialists and biomedical scientists, engage in groundbreaking research that will advance understanding of the causes and treatments of disease, and participate in the delivery of outstanding patient care. In fiscal year 2004, Pitt and its institutional affiliates ranked 7th nationally among educational institutions in grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Approximately 93 percent of this $396 million in NIH support went to the Schools of the Health Sciences and their affiliates.

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