Aspirin may be overused as a preventative measure for heart attack and stroke.
Although the risk of heart attack and stroke is greater for older individuals, they can strike at any time.
For those with family histories of these health problems, the fear of suffering from one of these is high.
In the past, taking low-dose Aspirin daily has been recommend as a preventative measure.
According to a recent The New York Times article titled “Aspirin Use to Prevent 1st Heart Attack or Stroke Should Be Curtailed, U.S. Panel Says,” this is no longer true.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has revoked its former recommendation, stating that the risk of developing serious side effects from even the low 81 to 100 milligrams of Aspirin are not worth the potential benefits.
Similarly, they recommended the use of low-dose Aspirin in 2016 to prevent colorectal cancer and are now backpedaling, citing the need for further research on potential benefits.
Although the use of baby Aspirin is no longer recommended for everyone, several factors should be considered before stopping the use of Aspirin or before beginning a new regimen.
Instead of recommending the regimen for all individuals with high risk of heart disease under age 60, doctors should provide direction on a case-by-case basis.
Those who are age 60 or older are strongly advised not to begin a regimen of daily Aspirin out of fear that doing so may trigger a greater risk for bleeding, even to the point of becoming life-threatening due to age.
For those already taking Aspirin or those who already have had a heart attack, the new recommendation does not apply.
For years, federal agencies and medical professionals have recommended the use of this regimen.
In recent years, some of the organizations have begun changing these recommendations as well.
Although Aspirin can reduce the formation of clots, these properties also can lead to the risk of bleeding.
Bleeding in areas like the brain or digestive tract are dangerous and the risk of these complications increases for older individuals.
The new recommendations stem from research demonstrating that the risks of developing bleeding can occur soon after starting a daily regimen of Aspirin.
These recommendations do not apply for those who have already experienced a stroke or a heart attack.
Those currently taking low-dose Aspirin regularly should talk with their doctors before stopping.
Discussing your personal health with your physician is important, especially for those who are at high risk of heart disease since it is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Reference: The New York Times (Oct. 12, 2021) “Aspirin Use to Prevent 1st Heart Attack or Stroke Should Be Curtailed, U.S. Panel Says”