(ABC News) – Many Americans use a small dose of aspirin with the aim of preventing heart disease.
But taking the drug in this capacity might be overzealous – and like any medicine, it comes with risks.
Three studies in 2018 showed that in people without a history of heart disease or stroke, daily low dose aspirin actually has few benefits and can cause significant bleeding.
The American Heart Association -now suggests we should be more judicious with aspirin use. Their advice is clear.
- if you’ve had heart problems and your doctor tells you to – keep taking that daily aspirin. It could be a life saver.
- if you’ve never had them and you’re not high risk don’t take a daily aspirin.
But new work from Harvard suggests these warnings have gone unheeded.
In fact, 25% of adults over 40 use low dose aspirin without any history of heart problems – that’s 29 million people.
The problem is even worse among the elderly: for those over the age of 70, levels reach 50 percent.
The AHA specifically cautions against people 70 and up– taking aspirin if they don’t have a history of stroke or heart disease.
So it’s a worrying pattern: lots of people are taking aspirin who probably shouldn’t be.
If you’re on aspirin, don’t make any changes until speaking with your doctor.
If you’ve had a stroke or heart disease, it’s an important medicine.
The best advice? Check first.