Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, accounting for nearly one-third of all deaths. The diseases also create an immense national health economic burden.
The solution might be as simple as aspirin.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has found that the University of Minnesota's "Ask About Aspirin" initiative, a statewide public health campaign, is likely a beneficial and cost-effective way to reduce the incidence of a first heart attack or stroke.
The program is designed to lower cardiovascular risk in men ages 45-79 and women 55-79.
Researchers from the U of M's School of Public Health and the Cardiovascular Division estimate that nearly 10,000 fewer heart attacks and at least 1,200 fewer strokes would occur in Minnesota as a result of improving public knowledge of aspirin use.
"As University researchers, we strive to identify cost-effective strategies for preventing disease and improving public health," says study co-author and associate professor Jean Abraham.
Until now, it has not been known if efforts to directly inform the public about aspirin's health benefits would lower cardiovascular events, and thus cost, in any large state population.
"There is no other single cardiovascular medication as effective and inexpensive as aspirin," says Alan T. Hirsch, adjunct Medical School professor and study author. "Yet, despite the publication of national guidelines that have recommended increased use of aspirin, no prior state or national effort has effectively promoted such use. [This study] demonstrates that the health and economic impact [of effective promotion] would be immense."
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