Medicine

Daily aspirin no longer suggested to prevent heart attack

Daily aspirin no longer suggested to prevent heart attack

If you're a healthy adult, who takes a low-dose daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack we have some newly released information for you.

Doctors may consider aspirin for certain high-risk older patients, such as those who have trouble lowering their cholesterol or controlling their blood sugar levels, as long as there is no increased risk of internal bleeding, the guidelines say.

The researchers also found that incidences of major cardiovascular events such as coronary heart disease, nonfatal heart attacks and fatal and nonfatal ischemic strokes were similar among those taking aspirin and a placebo, with 448 people taking aspirin experiencing a cardiovascular event, compared with 474 people taking a placebo.

"Low-dose aspirin for primary prevention [is] now reserved for select high-risk patients", according to the guidelines.

Although it's been used for more than a century, aspirin's value in many situations is still unclear. Doctors recommend routine exercise and following plant-based diet plans such as DASH, a meal strategy that stresses fruits, veggies and whole grains to lower heart disease risk. But regular use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks and stroke in healthy people isn't as clear-cut.

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"For the most part, we are now much better at treating risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and especially high cholesterol", cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell told CNN.

Statins may also be indicated for people with "type 2 diabetes and anyone who is deemed to have a high likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack upon reviewing their medical history and risk factors", the AHA and ACC said.

Aiming for and keeping a healthy weight - for people who are overweight or obese, losing just 5 to 10 percent of their body weight (that would be 10-20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds) can markedly cut their risk of heart disease, stroke and other health issues. The change follows newer studies that flagged a bleeding risk for aspirin, including gastrointestinal bleeding. The higher death rate in the aspirin-treated group was due primarily to a higher rate of cancer deaths.

'The results demonstrate that there are cardiovascular benefits, but that they are quite closely matched by increased risks of serious bleeding, ' said lead study author Dr. Sean Zheng of King's College London and Imperial College London.

Michos said she had been telling her patients who do not have cardiovascular disease to stop taking aspirin. 'If you're healthy, it's probably not worth taking it'.