You pop an aspirin when you experience a headache, a toothache or a sore body part. In a way, it’s a wonder drug, but you may not know that the bitter-tasting tablet could save your life if you start experiencing a heart attack.

Heart health is a major concern in medicine today, thanks in part to the growing obesity epidemic in the United States. Frank Alvino, president and chief operating officer of Advent Consumer Healthcare, LLC, is in the business of providing consumer products that help doctors and healthcare providers increase a patient’s awareness of potential health problems.

Alvino’s recent project is to bring an emergency aspirin dispenser, At Heart, to market. Alvino, in an interview with Men and Health: It’s a Guy Thing, says, “I’ve always maintained an interest in cardiovascular disease…there are about a million heart attacks a year. About half of the people do not survive a heart attack. Most of the heart attacks occur when someone is away from home and never gets to the hospital.” Aware that seconds count in a heart attack,  Alvino started thinking about providing an easy-to-use device that could provide the patient easy access to an aspirin tablet.

With At Heart, says Alvino, “You press a button. The button pushes out an aspirin, which is in a sealed pack within the dispenser.” Each dispenser contains two blister-sealed 325 mg aspirin tablets. The dispenser is easy to attach to a key chain, pocket or purse. He says At Heart, which is meant for emergency use (they are not refillable) only, is available nationally at all CVS stores and at   “We’re very pleased because it gives us a very broad distribution…we’ve gotten some incredibly good response to the product.” Alvino says good candidates for the product include men over 40, men with a family history of heart disease, men who don’t get regular physical activity, men who smoke, men who are obese and men who have diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. “Many of these people don’t recognize that they’re at risk, it’s just amazing,” says Alvino, noting that it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor about these and other subjects.

Women can also benefit from At Heart. Alvino says heart attacks do not strike men only. “It affects women just as readily – people don’t assume women have heart attacks. Their symptoms are often different. They don’t have the classic chest pains…theirs are far more subtle, so, often times, they are ignored, even in an emergency room.”

Over the last several years, doctors have become more familiar with how aspirin can assist a heart attack victim. Alvino says around 1998, the Food and Drug Administration examined large blocks of international studies. It was shown that if you took an aspirin at the first sign of a suspected heart attack, you were able to increase your chances of survival significantly.

It’s vital to become aware of heart health, especially with obesity so prevalent in this country. Alvino says around 85 million people have some form of cardiovascular disease.  “More people die from heart disease than from any other disease.”

Learn more about At Heart at