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New Guidelines for Women on Preventing Heart Disease

The American Heart Association's new guidelines are focusing more on women's heart health and not just men's.

KSMU's Matt Petcoff explains what women are now being urged to do and why some say you need to be careful doing it...

For the first time, women are now being urged to consider taking aspirin to help prevent stroke.

This updated perspective focusing on women's health comes after the American Heart Association released its guidelines Monday.

Becky Watts is the clinical director at the Wheeler Heart and Vascular Center at Cox South.

She says there's been a new perspective focusing on women and the prevention of heart disease.

But, these new guidelines don't come without controversy.

Research has shown taking aspirin is only substantially effective in preventing strokes in older women.

And, specialists say this use of aspirin could cause ulcers, internal bleeding and can be dangerous for people who don't have their blood pressure under control.

Watts says it's important to check with your physician before taking aspirin for heart related problems because there could be some negative side affects.

About one in three American women will experience some form of cardiovascular disease and about 30 Missouri women die each day from cardiovascular problems.

So, the American Heart Association suggests women get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, eat more fruits and vegetables and limit fat and alcohol consumption.