A daily low-dose aspirin has been touted by many doctors for the prevention of heart attacks. But a new study suggests that it could do more harm than good.
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Several detailed studies have led physicians to reconsider their openness to the daily recommendation of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people without a history of cardiovascular disease.
The national discussion on aspirin began last year, when a large clinical study in Australia found that daily low-dose aspirin had no effect on life extension in healthy, elderly people. Not only was there no benefit for over-70s, but there was also an increased risk of bleeding, such as bleeding.
An increased risk of bleeding in the skull was also found in a recent study published in May focusing on participants without a history of heart attack or stroke.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association published in March updated guidelines that reversed the recommendation of a low daily dose of aspirin for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes in individuals without a history of cardiovascular disease.
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The guidelines focused on two specific points:  010] People over the age of 70 who have no heart disease or are younger but have an increased risk of bleeding should avoid daily aspirin for prevention.
Two doctors talked to the US TODAY about what the new studies and guidelines mean for millions of Americans.
However, the following explanations only apply to long-term aspirin use – not to patients who experience pain and discomfort as needed.
Who Should Be
Aspirin is a key aspect of treatment for many patients with cardiovascular disease or history of heart disease, such as: A heart attack, said Dr. Dan Muñoz, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University.
These patients are assigned to secondary prevention, meaning that they have had cardiovascular problems in the past and are preventing a second occurrence with daily low-dose aspirin.
"As physicians, we care for patients wholeheartedly. We want to make sure that the right message reaches the right patients," said Drs. Muñoz. This message: Patients with cardiovascular disease who are already taking aspirin as recommended by their doctor should continue to do so.
Who should not?
The guidelines presented in March focus on primary prevention, which prevents a heart attack or stroke patients who have never had one.
With some specific exceptions persons who have never had a heart attack or other cardiovascular disease should not take low-dose aspirin every day.
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Dr. Eugene Yang, a professor of medicine at Washington University, says the risk of internal bleeding is not worth the lack of benefit.
And dr. Muñoz agrees.
"Aspirin's strength is also his weakness," Dr. Muñoz. "It prevents blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes, but bleeding is prevented by preventing these clots." of aspirin, which lies between the guidelines.
Doctors recommend that patients talk to their family doctors before they take action independently, whether they stop or start their daily aspirin use.
Like Dr. Yang and Dr. Muñoz said, patients who routinely take low doses as a secondary prevention method should not stop taking them. They explain that this represents a risk for patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.
Even though patients have no history of heart disease, it is important to consult a physician as there may be other reasons for taking it.
Studies have shown, for example, that aspirin has been associated with a decreased risk of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Aspirin, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, is suitable for short-term use in pain and pain, said Drs. Yang. It is the long-term use that a conversation with a doctor is worth.
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