Older adults without heart disease should not take a low-dose aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke for the first time, according to a health guide, the first updated advice was published Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT) in the US
The risk of bleeding for adults in their 60s who have not had a heart attack or stroke is greater than any benefit that aspirin would have, the US Preventive Services Task Force said in its guidelines.
Initially, the committee noted that adults in their 40s can reap small benefits without the risk of bleeding. For those in their 50s, the committee made a softer recommendation, saying that the evidence of value was less accurate.
These tips are for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, or other conditions that increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Regardless of age, adults should talk to their doctors about stopping or starting aspirin to make sure it’s the right option for them, said team member Dr. John Wong, a health and hospital professional. Tufts Medical Center.
“Aspirin withdrawal can cause serious injury, the risk increases with age,” he said.
Later, adult counseling will revert to computer tips published in 2016 to help prevent an early heart attack and stroke but will adjust to new guidelines from other health groups.
Doctors have long recommended daily aspirin for many heart attack or stroke patients. Staff orientation does not change advice.
The staff says daily aspirin may also protect against colorectal cancer for some adults between the ages of 50 and 60, but the updated guidelines provide more evidence of any benefit.
The guide was posted online to allow for a public announcement until November 8.
An independent team of disease prevention experts reviews health screenings and documentation, as well as providing timely advice on procedures to help keep Americans healthy. New studies and the review of previous research led to this new advice, Wong said.
But aspirin also has risks, even with small doses, especially bleeding in the intestines or ulcers, the latter can be life-threatening.
Dr. Lauren Block, a community researcher at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, said the guide is important because many adults abuse aspirin even though they haven’t had a heart attack or stroke.
The patient, Richard Schrafel, 70, has high blood pressure and is known for his risk of a heart attack.
Schrafel, director of marketing, said aspirin has no side effects, but he appreciates the new guidelines.
“She said they changed their minds about it,” recalled the retired Milwaukee elementary school teacher, who said he understood that science was just beginning.
Wong acknowledged that relapses can leave some patients frustrated and wonder why scientists can’t decide.