Sezelle Gereau-Haddon, 55, eats right and exercises, but she's still at high risk for heart attack and stroke because of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a strong family history.
"I have an unusual degree of disease for someone who has lived as healthily as I have," she said.
Her doctor recommends she take a low-dose aspirin every day. Aspirin thins the blood, which can help prevent clots.
A new study shows taking a low-dose aspirin daily may increase the risk of major stomach or brain bleeding. Italian researchers found taking low-dose aspirin was associated with a more than 50 percent increased risk of bleeding.
"In this study of greater than 200,000 people we were yet again reminded that aspirin can increase the risk of bleed," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum of Lenox Hill Hospital.
More than 50 million adults in the U.S. take aspirin regularly to try to prevent cardiovascular disease. Experts say the findings confirm that aspirin should only be used in patients who have a medium to high risk for heart attack and stroke.
"If someone is at low risk of heart disease then it's not worth it," Steinbaum said.
But doctors say for people with risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure and family history, the benefits outweigh the risks.
For Gereau-Haddon, it is a no-brainer.
"All you can do is do the best that you can to care for yourself," she said.
She's been taking an aspirin a day for more than 10 years with no problems.
PO Box 4508