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Low -Dose Aspirin May Cause More Harm Than Benefit For Some, Say New Rules -By ASC


The blood -thinning nature of aspirin is a risk for those with other health problems.

New recommendations on the use of low -dose aspirin to prevent a heart attack or first stroke say the risk of blood thinning may outweigh its benefits, split from more than 30 years of widely accepted medical guidelines.

Current evidence highlighting the risk of internal bleeding associated with aspirin use prompted the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to review their 2016 guidelines. The final recommendations, based on an analysis of randomized clinical trials involving thousands of participants, were published on Tuesday.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 1 in 4 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Aspirin, which can be purchased easily over the counter, has long been considered an accessible preventative strategy for those concerned about their heart health because it works to reduce blood clotting. Untreated blood clots can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Those 60 years and older who have not yet taken aspirin as a blood thinner should not start taking it as a preventative measure against heart attack or stroke, according to the updated guidelines. People aged 40 to 59 who are concerned about cardiovascular disease, should only use low -dose aspirin in consultation with a healthcare professional who can help weigh the benefits and risks of the individual.

“This is an important proposal because over 600,000 people will have their first heart attack this year and another 600,000 will have their first stroke,” said John Wong, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the task force.

The updated task force guidelines are a significant change from 2016, when it recommended starting low -dose aspirin to most people between 50 and 60 who are not at high risk for bleeding and individually to those over 60 years of age.

Blood Diluting Properties

The blood -thinning nature of aspirin is a risk for those with other health conditions that may be prone to bleeding. And for them, a review of the task force’s evidence from 14 randomized clinical trials found that aspirin was associated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and intracranial hemorrhage.

The risk of internal bleeding, with or without aspirin, increases with age. The task force review noted that the risk of bleeding was also higher for men, people with diabetes and those with a history of gastrointestinal problems. Liver disease, smoking, and high blood pressure also increase the risk. Certain medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and other anticoagulants are also risk factors.

For those ages 40 to 59, who are not at risk for bleeding and are worried about a heart attack or stroke, there may be some net benefits to taking low -dose aspirin for prevention, the study found. But before starting medication, people should talk to a doctor first.

Other preventative health measures, such as regular exercise and healthy eating habits, are particularly effective for improving heart and general health. Wong said that quitting smoking, treating hypertension and monitoring blood pressure are also important tools to help prevent heart attacks or strokes.

Those who are already taking aspirin, or those who have had a heart attack or stroke, should make all decisions in coordination with a healthcare professional, Wong said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by AGRASMARTCITY staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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