Taking Baby Aspirin Every Day Can Actually Have Serious Health Risks

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Australian-American research has found the medication won't help you live longer or prevent your first heart attack, but it will increase the risk of bleeding in older people.

The student was led by researched at Monash University and was publishes in the New England Journal of Medicine. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends "initiating low-dose aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer in adults aged 50 to 59 years who have a 10% or greater" risk of cardiovascular disease.

The test subjects, majority from Australia, were older than 70, except for blacks and Hispanics in the United States, who were recruited at age 65 or older because people in those groups have a higher risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems than whites.

"Despite the fact that aspirin has been around for more than 100 years, we have not known whether healthy older people should take it as a preventive measure to keep them healthy for longer".

Major risks of bleeding in people who consume aspirin on a daily basis overwhelm its benefits.

"These initial findings will help to clarify the role of aspirin in disease prevention for older adults, but much more needs to be learned", Hadley said. Do you take aspirin regularly? Hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal bleeding and bleeding in other sites that required transfusion or hospitalization occurred in 361, or 3.8 percent, of participant in the aspirin-treated group and 265, or 2.7 percent, of those in the placebo group.

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One of the more unexpected findings of the study was that people who took aspirin were slightly more likely to have died over the course of the trial from any cause (5.9 percent) than those who took the placebo (5.2 percent).

"It means millions of healthy older people around the world who are taking low dose aspirin without a medical reason, may be doing so unnecessarily, because the study showed no overall benefit to offset the risk of bleeding", the researchers said in a statement. "Aspirin is a double-edged sword; it is absolutely essential drug and a lifesaver in patients with established heart disease (or arterial blockages) and many patients with diabetes where risk is high".

The cancer finding surprised researchers because in other studies, aspirin protected against death from cancer.

The difference was attributed nearly entirely to cancer, a leading killer of older people, and not internal bleeding. Patients who were black or Hispanic and living in the U.S. were included in the study as they face a higher risk of heart disease or dementia generally. Also, the rates of physical disability dementia were similar in both groups.

Aspirin-related compounds have been used for the treatment of pain since the 16th century BC, when it was reported that people chewed on the bark of willow and papyrus.

"If [a person has] been prescribed aspirin by their doctor they should assume there's a good reason".

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