In a report published by the Associated Press Health and Science Department, Harvard researchers warn the general population especially adults and those who have a history of the heart-related disease to be cautious of taking aspirin.
According to the report, most people who take this drug are unaware of the change in the guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology.
“After all, for years doctors urged people to leverage aspirin’s blood-thinning properties to lower the chances of a first heart attack or stroke. Then last year, three surprising new studies challenged that dogma.” the report elucidated.
“Guidelines released this year ruled out routine aspirin use for many older adults who don’t already have a heart disease …”
Number of People Taking Aspirin
In May 2015, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a report where it was observed that among the 2,509 adult participants with no health disease history, about 52 percent were regularly using aspirin as the main fortress against diseases.
A 2017 study conducted by Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center revealed that 29 million people who are 40 years and older regularly take aspirin even though they presented no heart-related disorders.
“Some 29 million people 40 and older were taking an aspirin a day despite having no known heart disease in 2017, the latest data available, according to a new study from Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.”
“About 6.6 million of them were doing so on their own — a doctor never recommended it.” The researchers exclaimed.
Why are these adults popping aspirin?
The AP report signified prevention against heart-related disease as the main reason many adults were popping aspirin. Most of them were said to have been encouraged by their doctors until recently. The belief was founded on the blood-thinning properties of aspirin. The assumption was that such potency could reduce the possibility of first heart attack or stroke.
In contradiction to this notion, three recent research studies found only marginal benefits of the usage of aspirin in adults. Instead, they are reported to be more prone to experience digestive tract bleeding, among other side effects.
In their report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers led by Dr. Colin O’Brien, a senior internal medicine resident at Beth Israel, were surprised to discover that about 10,000 people who are above 70 years old were also taking aspirin for prevention against heart diseases.
“Then last year, three surprising new studies challenged that dogma. Those studies were some of the largest and longest to test aspirin in people at low and moderate risk of a heart attack, and found only marginal benefit if any, especially for older adults.”
“Yet the aspirin users experienced markedly more digestive-tract bleeding, along with some other side effects.”
Change in AHA and ACC Guidelines
Unknown to many users of aspirin, the guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) as changed and now more in favor of consuming daily low-dose aspirin instead of the high dose.
The thinning properties of aspirin according to AHA can cause several complications.
“Because aspirin thins the blood, it can cause several complications.” The AHA stated on its online page.
The research does in no way condemn the use of aspirin by heart-related disease sufferers but instead dissuades the high consumption and self-prescription of aspirin without the guidance of an expert to avoid any complication.
“Nothing has changed for heart attack survivors: Aspirin still is recommended for them.”
Dr. O’Brien while being interviewed commented; “We hope that more primary care doctors will talk to their patients about aspirin use, and more patients will raise this with their doctors,”.