Can You Prevent Heart Attacks With Aspirin? Here’s What Science Says

Can You Prevent Heart Attacks With Aspirin? Here’s What Science Says

An essential panel of health recommendations stated Tuesday that older individuals without heart disease should not use aspirin in daily low doses for the prevention of a first heart attack or stroke.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated in its draft Guidance that the risks for individuals over the 1960s and over who have no heart attack or stroke exceed possible advantages from aspirin.

“There’s no longer a blanket statement that everybody who’s at increased risk for heart disease, even though they never had a heart attack, should be on aspirin. We need to be smarter at matching primary prevention to the people who will benefit the most and have the least risk of harms,” explained Dr. Chien-Wen Tseng.

The guidelines are intended for those with hypertension, excessive cholesterol, obesity or other diseases that are more likely to develop a cardiac attack or stroke. Irrespective of their age, individuals should discuss quitting or beginning aspirin with their doctors, to ensure it is the appropriate option.

Tens of million of individuals with high risks of cardiovascular diseases, which remains a major cause of death in the U.S., may face guidelines that are not yet definitive.

Aspirin is an analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). It helps relieve pain and fever by constricting blood vessels and relieving swelling (inflammation). Aspirin is used in the treatment of fever, headaches, toothaches, colds, flu, pain from menstrual periods, minor aches and pains, and arthritis pain. Aspirin is also used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with heart disease, and to thin the blood in people with a bleeding disorder.

If concluded, suggestions made by the panel in 2016 to avoid a first heart attack and stroke would be followed back by older individuals, but it would be consistent with more current guidelines released by other expert bodies.

For several patients whom have experienced a stroke or heart attack, specialists have advised extended daily low-dose aspirin. This recommendation is not changed by the task force guidelines.

Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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