ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Aspirin is one of the first medications doctors realized helped lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients.  Because of this, older data suggested that more and more people should take an aspirin a day.  Now though, that’s all changing.

 “Less and less people actually require aspirin, but the unfortunate reality is there are probably too many people, particularly people over 70 who are taking aspirin and having unexpected or undesirable consequences, particularly with bleeding from their gastrointestinal tract,” noted S. Benjamin Mathew, a cardiologist at Cardiology Associates of Charlottesville.

Dr. Mathew says a daily aspirin is still appropriate for certain age groups of people.

“A person with a prior stroke, a person with a prior heart attack, a person with a prior stent, prior bypass surgery, and then potentially some patients with abnormal heart rhythms can still benefit from a daily aspirin.”  

However, for others, new drugs do a better job of reducing risk.

“Statins we know reduce the risk of heart attack, and I think as a result of that particular medication and others we’re doing a better job of reducing the risk.”

Overall, it’s important to discuss with your doctor what’s right for you and your individual situation.

“The take home message for everybody is before you think about taking an aspirin, have a lengthy discussion with your physician so he or she can better instruct you about what choices should be done.”

For more information on this topic, call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, email