Many Older Americans Take Aspirin Daily

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Many Older Americans Take Aspirin Daily

A new study reveals that many older individuals are still taking baby aspirin daily to prevent first-time cardiac issues, despite guidelines that generally discourage it.

Many Older Americans Take Aspirin Daily

Researchers discovered that half to 62 percent of individuals aged 70 and older in the United States were using low-dose aspirin to reduce their risk of heart disease or stroke. And aspirin usage was widespread even among people who had no history of cardiovascular illness, a population for whom the medication may be more harmful than beneficial.

Many Older Americans Take Aspirin Daily

According to the study’s authors, over 10 million Americans in that category use aspirin.

According to lead researcher Dr. Rita Kalyani, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, the figures are alarming.

She stated that current guidelines usually prohibit persons aged 70 and higher from using aspirin regularly to avoid a first-time heart attack or stroke.

This is due, in part, to the fact that aspirin is not without danger: it can induce bleeding in the gastrointestinal system or even the brain, with the risk increasing with age. Furthermore, some recent trials have failed to demonstrate that low-dose aspirin truly reduces the risk of first-time heart attacks or strokes.

All of this may be perplexing and unexpected to individuals who have long believed that aspirin is beneficial to the heart.

Even health care providers are baffled, according to Dr. Wilson Pace, chief medical officer at the DARTNet Institute in Aurora, Colo.

Pace believes that aspirin can help patients who have recognized cardiovascular illness, such as blocked heart arteries or a history of heart attack or stroke.

The avoidance of a first-time heart attack or stroke is where things become unclear.

Pace stated that years ago, recommendations strongly favored low-dose aspirin for those who were thought to be at high risk of getting heart disease in the following ten years due to risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

However, new research suggests that this is no longer the case.

According to the most recent American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines, aspirin can now be recommended for selected individuals aged 40 to 70 who are not at higher risk of bleeding.

When it comes to older individuals, the recommendations advise against using aspirin regularly for primary prevention.

That’s a bit of a hedge, according to Pace, because aspirin may be a good choice for an older adult at high risk of cardiovascular problems in some instances.

However, he claims that for the most part, they do not require the medication for primary prevention.

Of course, many older individuals using aspirin began taking it years ago, according to Pace. He urged such people to consult with their doctor to see if it was still required.

The research is based on a government health study of over 7,100 U.S. individuals aged 60 and older.

Preventive aspirin usage was prevalent among individuals in their 70s: just under 62 percent of persons with diabetes used aspirin, as did 48.5 percent of those without diabetes.

While some individuals did have a history of cardiovascular illness, the majority did not. Despite this, their aspirin consumption was high, according to the data.

Twenty percent of the research participants with no risk factors for cardiovascular disease were taking aspirin. According to the research, 43 percent of individuals whose sole risk factor was diabetes were taking aspirin.

However, regardless of whether they have diabetes, recommendations prohibit the use of aspirin in individuals aged 70 and older, according to Kalyani.

Kalyani agreed that elderly individuals who have been taking aspirin for years should consult with their doctor to see if it is still necessary.

People may incorrectly believe aspirin is safe since it is widely available over-the-counter, according to Pace. But, he cautioned, no one should begin using it to prevent illness without first consulting with his or her doctor.

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