(WXYZ) — An aspirin a day is no longer recommended to prevent heart disease and stroke for most older adults.
Research shows no net benefit for people aged 60 and up, according to the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force.
First, low dose aspirin has been recommended for years as a prevention measure. So, if you’re already taking a daily aspirin, please talk to your doctor first before stopping any medication.
Now, the last time the task force updated its recommendation on aspirin was back in 2016. So, what’s changed?
Well, aspirin was initially prescribed because it can stop blood from clotting. But one reason why the newer studies are showing no net benefit from a daily aspirin is likely because of statins. Statins are drugs that help reduce a person’s risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Also, accumulating evidence has found that the risk of internal bleeding increases as a person ages. This bleeding can happen in the stomach, intestines and the brain. As for the question, “Can it be fatal?” Yes, it can be life threatening.
That’s why the new recommendation for those aged 60 and up is to not start a daily low-dose aspirin regimen as the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and to consider stopping it all together around the age of 75.
For those who are 40 to 59 years of age, it all comes down to your health and risk factors. If you’re healthy and have no major risk factors, the benefits likely do not outweigh the risk of bleeding. But if you have a 10% or higher 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease, then you could consider an aspirin as the task force said there may be a small net benefit.
Also, if you’ve had a stroke or heart attack or have a stent, then aspirin in these cases could be beneficial.
The key is to not decide for yourself if a daily aspirin is good or bad. Instead, talk to your doctor about the new recommendations and then decide because cardiovascular disease kills 1 in 4 people. It’s the leading cause of death here in the U.S.
My advice is to take care of your heart health starting now. Eat healthy food most of the time, move more, try to exercise for 150 minutes a week, quit smoking, lower stress levels and get enough sleep.