Is An Asprin A Day Still A Good Idea?

    Rows of aspirin pills on a blue backgroundMillions of people take aspirin every day to lower their heart attack and stroke risk, but new research may change some of that thinking.

    Daily aspirin use was associated with a higher-than-expected increase in the risk for major bleeding in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    The risk for serious bleeds was five times higher than has been reported in clinical trials of daily low-dose aspirin, says researcher Antonio Nicolucci, MD.

    He noted that while daily aspirin therapy has been proven to lower the risk for a second heart attack or stroke in people who have already suffered one, the treatment’s usefulness for preventing a first heart attack or stroke is not so clear.

    “People with a moderate-to-high risk for having a major cardiovascular event probably benefit from aspirin therapy, but the risks may outweigh the benefits for people with a lower risk,” Nicolucci says.

    Diabetes Linked to Bleeding Risk

    Researchers were surprised to find that patients with diabetes had a 36% increased risk for these potentially life-threatening bleeding episodes even when they did not take aspirin. Aspirin use did not appear to influence this risk for people with diabetes one way or another.

    Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke, and low-dose aspirin is recommended for most diabetic men over age 50 and diabetic women over 60 when other heart disease and stroke risk factors are present.

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