A widely practiced health ritual may be on its way. For years, doctors have recommended that some people take low-dose aspirin daily to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease. But a panel of experts has issued a recommendation that doctors should no longer prescribe low-dose aspirin daily to prevent a first-time heart attack or stroke, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. Here’s what aspirin does to your body every day, according to that task force and previous research. Read on to find out more – and to ensure your health and that of others, don’t miss this one Certain Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.
This is why the panel of experts (known as the US Preventative Services Task Force) is withdrawing from the daily aspirin recommendation: Taking aspirin daily increases the risk of major bleeding, including in the stomach, intestines and brain, a risk that already increases with age. The experts determined that the risk of bleeding caused by daily aspirin may be greater than the potential reward.
However, the panel’s recommendations do not apply to people who are already taking daily aspirin or have already had a heart attack, the Time reported. If you’re taking aspirin daily and are wondering if you should continue taking it, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before changing your routine.
In 2016, the task force advised people to take baby aspirin to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Now they plan to roll back that guidance. The panel quoted data from a randomized controlled trial called Aspirin in reducing events in the elderly. In that study, researchers found that aspirin use was linked to a nearly doubling in colorectal cancer deaths after about five years. (Other experts disagree, saying there’s good evidence that aspirin can prevent colorectal polyps from becoming cancerous.)
There’s a reason aspirin has been around as the first over-the-counter pain reliever since 1899: It’s highly effective at reducing pain and swelling. Specifically, aspirin works by inhibiting prostaglandins, the enzyme that serves as an on-off switch for aches and pains. Classically it is used for fever and pain.
Aspirin is a strong drug and it can damage the lining of the stomach and cause pain, ulcers and bleeding. The risk increases in people who are older, have stomach ulcers, take blood thinners, or drink alcohol.
“If you’ve had a heart attack or a stent in one or more of your heart arteries, stopping daily aspirin therapy could lead to a life-threatening heart attack,” says the Mayo Clinic. “If you’re on daily aspirin therapy and want to stop, it’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes.” And to get through this pandemic as healthy as possible, don’t miss this one 35 places you are most likely to get COVID.