Health Capsule : Millions Taking Aspirin Without Clear Benefit

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Daily
aspirin is not advised for everyone

Many people
take aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke. But daily aspirin
isn’t advised for everyone. A survey found that about 29 million adults without
heart disease take low-dose aspirin for prevention. But many of them shouldn’t
under new guidelines.

How works
Aspirin

Aspirin
works by thinning the blood and preventing clots. But taking a daily aspirin
can also increase the risk of bleeding.

New studies
found that aspirin has little benefit for some people. As a result, experts no
longer recommend daily low-dose aspirin for adults age 70 and older—or for
people with a higher risk of bleeding, like those with stomach ulcers.

So how many
people are affected by the new guidelines? To answer this, scientists surveyed
14,000 adults age 40 and older. About 23% of people without heart disease were
taking a daily aspirin for prevention. Almost a quarter of these did so without
a health care provider’s recommendation.

Nearly half
of people age 70 and older who did not have heart disease reported using
aspirin daily. So did a quarter of people with a history of stomach ulcers.

“Our
findings suggest that a substantial portion of adults may be taking aspirin
without their physician’s advice and potentially without their knowledge,” says
Dr. Christina Wee at Harvard University, who led the study.

Talk with your doctor if you’re taking aspirin daily or plan to start.

Source – NIH News in Health

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