Many older Americans still take daily aspirin without knowing the risks

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A recent study from Johns Hopkins University has shed new light on the use of baby aspirin by older Americans. Surprisingly, a large number of people over 70 are still taking this low-dose aspirin every day.

They believe it will help prevent heart problems or strokes. However, current health guidelines suggest that this might not be the best approach.

The researchers looked into data from a big health survey involving more than 7,100 Americans aged 60 and above. They discovered that aspirin use was quite common, especially among people in their 70s.

About 62% of those with diabetes and 48.5% without diabetes were taking aspirin as a precaution. This is intriguing because many of these individuals had no previous heart disease.

Despite this, they continued to use aspirin regularly. The study estimated that nearly 10 million Americans in this group are taking aspirin.

Why is this a concern? Well, aspirin is not entirely safe. It has its risks, such as causing bleeding in the stomach or even the brain.

These risks increase as people get older. Additionally, recent studies haven’t convincingly shown that aspirin can prevent first-time heart attacks or strokes.

However, aspirin can be beneficial for those who have existing heart problems, like blocked arteries or a history of heart attacks or strokes. The confusion arises when we consider preventing a first heart attack or stroke.

Previous guidelines were in favor of using aspirin for people at high risk of heart disease due to factors like smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes. But this thinking has evolved.

Now, the latest guidelines from heart health experts recommend that aspirin should only be considered for certain adults aged 40 to 70 who don’t have a high risk of bleeding. For older adults, routine aspirin use for prevention is not advised.

Instead of aspirin, the researchers point out that statins, which reduce bad cholesterol, are more effective in preventing heart disease.

Many older adults who take aspirin started doing so years ago. The researchers advise these individuals to consult their doctors about whether they still need to take aspirin.

This study is important because it highlights a common practice that might need reevaluation. It’s crucial for older adults to have up-to-date information on medications like aspirin.

For those interested in the topic, other studies have looked into aspirin’s benefits for conditions like cancer and severe COVID-19. However, it’s always best to talk to a doctor before starting or stopping any medication, including aspirin.

Dr. Rita Kalyani and her team at Johns Hopkins University conducted this insightful study, which was published in JAMA Network Open.

It’s a call for both the public and healthcare professionals to revisit and discuss the role of aspirin in the healthcare of older adults.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and scientists find how COVID-19 damages the heart.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about Aspirin linked to higher risk of heart failure, and results showing this drug could reduce heart disease, fatty liver, obesity.

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