Taking aspirin regularly increases risk of ANOTHER blood disorder, study suggests
Taking low-dose aspirin may lead to a 20 percent higher risk of developing anemia in older people, a study suggests.
Low-dose aspirin is taken by prescription to prevent heart attacks and strokes in high-risk people. It makes the blood less sticky, making dangerous clots less likely.
But a study of 19,114 people over the age of 65 found a difference in the rate of anemia between people taking low-dose aspirin and those given dummy pills for comparison.
Over five years, the chance of developing anemia among those taking low-dose aspirin was 23.5 percent, compared to just 20.3 percent among people who didn’t take aspirin.
Aspirin is a common pain reliever that is also often used to prevent heart attacks because of its anticoagulant properties. But people without a history of heart problems should not take it as a preventative measure, as it can greatly increase a person’s risk of serious bleeding and possibly anemia.
Those given low-dose aspirin had about a 20 percent higher risk of anemia, even after taking into account other factors that could increase the chance of developing the disease.
Low-dose aspirin may be an essential treatment for preventing blood clots, but the study authors suggest doctors should monitor them closely to make sure they don’t develop anemia.
The researchers, led by Australia’s Monash University, state: ‘This provides further reasons to restrict the use of low-dose aspirin to those with an evidence-based indication and to monitor for the development of iron-deficiency anemia in individuals taking regular aspirin. ‘
In older people, anemia can lead to increased fatigue, problems with thinking skills and a decrease in their ability to perform everyday tasks.
The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, looked back at a study of older people in the US and Australia who received daily low-dose aspirin or placebo treatment from a dummy pill.
There was no difference in major bleeding between the two groups, but the authors suggest that those taking low-dose aspirin may have become iron deficient and developed anemia due to less severe and hidden internal bleeding.
Aspirin makes bleeding more likely, as platelets are less likely to clump together and stop bleeding, and the drug also reduces the protective barrier of the intestinal wall.
People who were given aspirin during the study had a greater drop in their blood iron levels than those who took placebo pills, which would support this theory.
It is estimated that about 30 percent of people over the age of 75 worldwide suffer from anemia.
Several recent studies have highlighted the bleeding risk of taking low-dose aspirin.
That’s why there are specific concerns among experts that people should only take low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks if recommended by their doctor, in case it could do more harm than good.