Millions take Aspirin to prevent possible heart attack – what experts say you should do so you can stay safe

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(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.

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