One daily low-dose aspirin has been invoked by many doctors to prevent heart attacks. But a new study suggests it can cause more harm than good.
Millions of people taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack may need to rethink pills, Harvard researchers said on Monday.
A daily low dose of aspirin is recommended. for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke and those with a diagnosis of heart disease.
But for the otherwise healthy, this tip is overturned. The guidelines published this year excluded the routine use of aspirin for many elderly people who no longer have heart disease and said it was only for some younger people under medical advice.
How many people should receive this message?  More than 29 million people aged 40 and over have taken aspirin a day, although they did not have any known heart disease in 2017, according to the latest data, according to a new study by the Harvard Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess. About 6.6 million of them did it alone – a doctor never recommended it.
And nearly half of people over 70 years of age who have heart disease – about 10 million – have taken daily aspirin for prophylaxis, researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.
"Many patients are confused about this," says Dr. Colin O'Brien, Senior Internal Medicine Specialist at Beth Israel, who runs the study. Aspirin is extinct: Here are how healthy elderly people can prevent heart attacks, strokes without pills Aspirin risks: Aspirin with low dose may be associated with bleeding in the skull, a new study finds
After all, for years, doctors have been urging people to use aspirin to lower blood levels to reduce the chances of a first heart attack or stroke. Then, last year, three surprising new studies challenged this dogma. These studies are one of the longest and longest for aspirin testing in people with low and moderate heart attack risk and have only found marginal benefits, if any, especially for the elderly. However, aspirin users had significantly more bleeding from the digestive tract, as well as some other side effects.
In March, these findings triggered a change in the guidelines of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology:
– People over 70 with no heart disease – or younger but at increased risk of bleeding – you should avoid aspirin daily for prevention. – Only some 40- to 70-year-old children who are no longer suffering from heart disease are high enough to guarantee 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin per day, and that's for a doctor.
Nothing has changed for survivors of heart attack: Aspirin is still recommended for them.
But there is no way to know how otherwise healthy people have got the word about the changed recommendations.
"We hope that more primary care physicians will talk to their patients about aspirin, and more patients will raise this with their doctors," said Brian.
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