A daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for people who have had a heart attack or stroke and for those diagnosed with heart disease
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But for the otherwise healthy, that advice has been overturned. Guidelines released this year have ruled out the routine use of aspirin for many older adults who have not already had heart disease – and said it's only for some younger people under doctor's orders
29 million people aged 40 and older were taking an aspirin a day despite having no known heart disease in 2017, according to a new study from Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. About 1
And nearly half of people over 70 who have heart disease – estimated at about 10 million – were taking aspirin daily for prevention, researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.
"Many patients are confused about this," said Dr. Colin O'Brien, and senior internist resident at Beth Israel who led the study.
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After all, for years doctors urged people to leverage aspirin's blood-thinning properties to lower the chances of a first heart attack or stroke. Then last year, three surprising new studies challenged that dogma. These studies have been one of the longest and longest to test aspirin in people at low and moderate risk of heart attack, and found only marginal benefit if any, especially for older adults. However, aspirin users experienced markedly more digestive tract bleeding, along with some other side effects.
In March, these findings were prompted by a change in guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology:
-People over 70 who have no heart disease – or are younger but at increased risk of bleeding – (19659005) -Only certain 40- to 70-year-olds who do not already have heart disease are at high enough risk to warrant 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin daily, and that's for a doctor to
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Nothing has changed for heart attack survivors: Aspirin is still recommended for them
There is no way to know how many other healthy people got the word about the changed recommendations
"We hope that more primary care physicians will talk to their patients about aspirin use, and more patients will raise this with their doctors," said O'Brien.