Does Taking Aspirin Daily Prevent Heart Attacks? Think Again

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Although doctors have touted the benefits of taking a low-dose aspirin daily to prevent heart attack or stroke for decades, new guidelines released by the American College of Cardiology Sunday reversed that recommendation for certain groups of patients.

"For the most part, we are now much better at treating risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and especially high cholesterol", said cardiologist Carolina Campbell, who was not involved in the new guidelines. Recent research suggests that the chance of bleeding, given the blood-thinning effect of aspirin, may be too high and the evidence of benefit-the number of heart attacks or strokes that are actually prevented-is not sufficient enough to make a daily aspirin worth taking for most adults in this setting.

Experts say that adults don't need to take the daily aspirin anymore because it is much easier to directly treat the risk factors for heart attacks and strokes such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.

The 2018 ASPREE study recruited nearly 20,000 people mostly over the age of 70 in the USA and Australia, hoping to study the effects of long-term, low-dose aspirin use.

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The new guideline walks that back, saying that taking daily aspirin for this objective would do more harm than good in all adults over the age of 70 and all adults who have an increased risk of bleeding. He stressed that optimizing lifestyle habits and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol are more important than taking aspirin.

"Aspirin prevents clotting, but on the contrary, it causes a risk of bleeding", said Dr. Uzma Khan, a family physician with McLaren Flint.

She emphasized, though, that people who have had heart attacks or have stents should continue with the medication. "Aspirin should be limited to people at the highest risk of cardiovascular disease and a very low risk of bleeding".

Patients should work closely with their doctors to establish their risk for bleeding. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and is the "bad" cholesterol that clogs arteries and leads to heart disease.

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For this, the recommendations say people should eat more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish.

Along with those dietary changes, people should exercise at least exercise moderately for at least 150 minutes a week.

This study doesn't show whether or not aspirin prevents heart disease - rather, it shows that its risks might cancel out its benefits. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

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