Experts have long said that: low doses of aspirin can help prevent heart disease, because the drug prevents the formation of blood clots. Now, experts are starting to backtrack on those claims, warning those 60 and older not to participate in the daily regimen.
Why was aspirin recommended as a heart disease prevention agent in the first place?
The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This type of heart disease occurs when the arteries in the heart become narrow or blocked by plaque buildup, which prevents blood vessels from carrying oxygen-rich blood.
When plaque buildup in your arteries ruptures, blood clots can form as your body tries to control the damage. Since plaque is already causing your arteries to narrow, a clot can completely block a blood vessel, preventing blood from flowing to the brain and heart. This is how stroke and heart attack occur respectively.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, blood clots become more common as people get older. Those 65 and older are most prone to forming blood clots. Because aspirin is known for its blood-thinning properties, doctors have prescribed low-dose aspirin to people at risk for heart disease.
What are experts saying now?
The New Times reported Tuesday that new draft guidelines from a panel of experts at the US Preventive Services Task Force suggest that doctors should stop making this recommendation, especially to people over 60. This warning is based on “increasing evidence” that the risk of serious side effects from aspirin is greater than that single benefit.
The experts encourage that those who are under the age of 60 and at high risk for heart disease, but who have no personal history of the disease, should talk to their doctor about whether it is necessary for them to take the drug. They also recommend that people over 60 not start with a daily dose of aspirin to avoid the potential risk of bleeding in the brain, stomach and intestines.
“There is no longer a blanket statement that anyone at risk for heart disease, even if they have never had a heart attack, should be given aspirin,” Dr. Chien-Wen Tseng, a member of the national task force researching the director of family medicine and community health at the University of Hawaii, was quoted as saying: The times. “We need to be smarter about targeting primary prevention to the people who benefit most and are least at risk of harm.”
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (AHA) were the first two organizations to address this issue. guidelines release in 2019 stating that low-dose aspirin was no longer recommended as a preventive measure for older adults who do not have pre-existing heart disease or are not at high risk.
These new guidelines aren’t final yet, but they could affect millions of Americans at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
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