GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - A new public health initiative in Minnesota called the Ask About Aspirin campaign is being launched to get more middle aged and older people to consider taking daily low dose aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke.

Alan T. Hirsch, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Community Health and Co-Director, Minnesota Heart Health Program joined us on KARE11 News at 4 to discuss the campaign.

1. Over 16,000 first heart attacks and strokes occur every year in Minnesota. Most can be prevented.

2. For over 35 years, the University of Minnesota’s “Minnesota Heart Health Program” has effectively translated knowledge into action, providing accurate public messages and tools to lower heart disease risk in all Minnesota primary care practices. The current focus is appropriate aspirin use.

3. Every adult should know their risk of a first heart attack or stroke.

4. Daily use of low dose aspirin can lower this risk by 20%.

5. New guidelines by the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommend aspirin for men and women ages 50-69 years.

6. Aspirin is usually safe, but like any medication should be used carefully. It is not right for everyone.

7. “ASK ABOUT ASPIRIN”: See your health care professional to determine your heart disease risk and to decide together if aspirin is right for you

8. This is the first State program in the nation that provides aspirin use tools to lower heart attack and stroke risk, safely, and cost-effectively. This is a recognized national model.