About Cardiovascular Disease

Patients with established coronary heart disease or cerebrovascular disease have a high risk of a subsequent cardiovascular event including myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and death from cardiovascular disease. For such patients, lifestyle changes and drug therapy are of proven benefit and will improve outcomes. Coronary artery disease is caused by atherosclerosis and often develops into angina pectoris and MI. The condition caused about 445,000 deaths in 2005 and remains the leading single cause of death in America today. Roughly 16.8 million people have a history of MI and/or angina. An estimated 24 million have been identified as secondary prevention patients (post-event). It is estimated that cardiovascular disease causes one in every three deaths in the United States. Every 25 seconds, someone in the United States will suffer a coronary event. About every minute, someone will die from one.

Aspirin therapy has become the standard of care for reducing an individual’s risk of a second heart attack or stroke. Studies have found that a daily aspirin regimen for people who have experienced a previous heart attack reduces the risk of a second heart attack by about one-third. Aspirin has been incorporated into the American Heart Association’s (AHA) clinical guidelines for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. In accordance with these guidelines, approximately 24 million Americans should be taking aspirin for secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. Although the cardiovascular disease (CVD) benefits of aspirin are well established, the use of aspirin is associated with the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB). The use of aspirin is associated with a 2- to 4- fold increased risk of UGIB. In addition, aspirin use for CVD is an important cause of gastrointestinal bleeding-related death. The use of the proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole can significantly reduce the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The American College of Cardiology with the AHA issued a Clinical Expert Consensus in 2008 recommending PPIs as preferred agents for the therapy and prophylaxis of aspirin-associated gastrointestinal injury.

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