Heart health: US task force suggests changes to daily aspirin recommendations

Taking a daily aspirin has long been considered a standard preventative measure to protect against heart disease and stroke, but recent clinical findings suggest that the risks may outweigh the benefits for older adults.

On Tuesday, the US Preventive Services Task Force released a new draft statement proposing changes to its guidelines for taking aspirin daily.

The statement project He says adults 60 and older should not start taking aspirin to prevent heart disease and stroke because it can cause harm. The statement adds that older adults who already take a daily aspirin to treat a previous heart attack or stroke should continue to take it unless directed otherwise by their doctor.

“For anyone who’s taking aspirin because they’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, it’s a very important medication,” Dr. Erin Michos, MD, associate director of preventive cardiology at Johns Hopkins Sicaron Heart Disease Prevention Center, told NBC News. Michus is not part of the task force.

The draft statement also advises adults between 40 and 59 years of age who are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but do not have a history of it, to discuss with their physician whether a daily aspirin would benefit them. This is the first time that the task force has included adults as young as 40 in its recommendations for daily aspirin intake.

For some people, daily low-dose aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, but there is also a potential risk of bleeding in the stomach, intestines, and brain.

Previous stomach ulcers, taking other anticoagulants, and a clotting disorder can increase a person’s risk of bleeding. The risk increases with age, too.

The theory behind daily aspirin use is that as an anticoagulant, it reduces the risk of blood clots forming, and thus lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Blood clots can cut off blood flow to the heart, resulting in a heart attack, or reduce blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke.

However, anticoagulants can also prevent blood from clotting at the site of the wound, increasing a person’s risk of bleeding.

The last time these recommendations were updated was in 2016 when the task force recommended that the decision to start taking low-dose aspirin be an individual decision for adults aged 60 to 69. The previous statement recommended daily low-dose aspirin for adults aged 50-59 years who had a cardiovascular risk of 10% or greater, but no increased risk of bleeding.

The 2016 Recommendation It included the use of aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer, but the latest draft focuses only on cardiovascular disease. Instead, the task force urged more research on the use of aspirin to prevent colorectal cancer.

In 2018, several studies were published in New England Journal of Medicine It has been suggested that daily low-dose aspirin offers no real benefit to healthy older adults, but may cause them serious harm. These findings reflect the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association Guidelines issued In 2019, a daily aspirin is no longer recommended for adults aged 70 or older who are not at high risk or have no history of heart disease.

Heart disease continues to be The leading cause of death in the United States About 29 million Americans Take a daily aspirin to prevent heart disease despite having no history of heart attack or stroke, according to the most recent data available since 2017.

Lifestyle changes are also important to prevent heart disease, Experts confirm. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and reducing stress. Managing health issues including high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure is also critical.

The draft recommendation has been posted for public comment, which can be submitted through November 8.

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