Ask About Aspirin: New Initiative Will Help Reduce Risk of First Heart Attacks and Strokes

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Minnesota Heart Health Program (MHHP) is launching an innovative, statewide initiative, “Ask About Aspirin,” to help lower the number of first heart attacks and strokes, a leading cause of death in Minnesota. Using low-dose aspirin on a daily basis has been proven to lower rates of a first heart attack or stroke, however, less than one in three people at risk in Minnesota do so.
 
MHHP has established a strong tradition over the past 35 years to create partnerships that improve cardiovascular health across the state and the nation. “Ask About Aspirin” is one of its latest outreach efforts, working with an expanding number of primary care clinics and health care systems across Minnesota. The initiative begins this month with a statewide public media campaign, along with a health care system quality improvement program.
 
“Ask About Aspirin” was designed by the University of Minnesota Lillehei Heart Institute, in partnership with the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, the Minnesota Department of Health, and a Community Advisory Board, including the American Heart Association, Minnesota Medical Association, American College of Cardiology, Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Minnesota Community Measurement, and Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. MHHP is also an official partner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Million Hearts® project.
 
The program encourages men ages 45–79 and women ages 55–79 to ask a health care professional whether they should take daily aspirin to help prevent a first heart attack or stroke. “Consulting with one’s health care professional is the best way to determine whether taking aspirin is appropriate for them,” said Alan Hirsch, M.D., Director of the Vascular Medicine Program at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
 
“An important cornerstone of this initiative is the close relationships we’re developing with health care professionals across the state. We rely on the expertise they have with their patients, and we are committed to providing the informational tools needed at a community level,” commented Russell Luepker, M.D., M.S., Mayo Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health.
 
Philanthropic funding and a National Institutes of Health grant support the initiative’s activities.
 
To learn more about the initiative or to take a self-assessment to see if aspirin is right for you, visit www.askaboutaspirin.org.