Survey Findings and Implications
Of adults age 40 and older, approximately 42% were classified as being at increased risk for heart disease. Yet the findings showcased a limited concern about heart disease among individuals at increased risk who had not yet experienced a heart attack; of these respondents, one quarter (26%) considered themselves to have little or no risk for having a heart attack in the next 10 years. Additionally, while heart disease is the number-one killer of American women1, only 36% of the increased-risk women surveyed selected heart attack as the health condition they personally feared most behind Alzheimer's (39%) and stroke (39%), and equal to breast cancer (36%). Even though women overall considered themselves slightly more knowledgeable than men about aspirin therapy (41% vs. 33%), only 54% of increased-risk women reported taking aspirin on a regular basis to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. In comparison, 59% of increased-risk males reported regular aspirin use.
Regarding methods for risk reduction, the survey findings suggest that healthcare professionals believe they are discussing the risks and benefits of aspirin therapy with their increased-risk patients more frequently than patients report having this discussion with their healthcare provider. For example, when asked what they discussed with their healthcare professionals when they talked about heart health, 91% of women at increased risk who have discussed their heart health with a health care professional said the conversation included a discussion of prescription medications; however, only 49% of these women reported having discussed aspirin. In contrast, nearly all healthcare professionals (92 -100%) reported recommending aspirin to their increased-risk patients as a way to manage their risk of heart attack or stroke.