Aspirin a day no longer recommended

ACC  AHA Update Guidance for Preventing Heart Disease Stroke

Aspirin a day no longer recommended

The age-old approach of taking daily low-dose aspirin to prevent strokes and heart attacks is no longer recommended for older adults who do not have a high risk for heart disease.

Bayer AG - the world's first modern aspirin manufacturer, which also makes the anticoagulant Xarelto used by heart disease patients - was quick to respond to the new ACC/AHA guidelines on Sunday.

While addressing the issue, Dr. Roger Blumenthal from John Hopkins stated that the focus is on making patients' overall lives better.

Nearly 80 percent of all heart disease can be prevented with lifestyle modifications, according to the Heart Association.

Aspirin has been proven to prevent platelets from clotting together and blocking arteries, which can cause heart attacks and stroke.

"For the most part, we are now much better at treating risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and especially high cholesterol", explained Campbell, who wasn't involved in drawing up the new guidelines. "In the past, a lot of people may have had a fatalistic attitude that they were going to develop heart problems sooner or later but, in reality, most cardiovascular events can be prevented".

According to the new guidelines, all of the steps listed above can help you stick to another recommended goal: maintaining a healthy weight.

Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes per week of accumulated moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity physical activity. Currently, only half of American adults are getting enough exercise and prolonged periods of sitting can counteract the benefits of exercise.

In one study, people who took daily aspirin had a 0.38 percent lower absolute risk of heart attacks, strokes or deaths from cardiovascular events than people not taking this drug.

"If you've already had a heart attack or a stroke, you definitely need to stay on aspirin", said Blumenthal.

She emphasized, though, that people who have had heart attacks or have stents should continue with the medication.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association are recommending that low-dose aspirin be used strictly on a case by case basis.

Patients should consult their primary care doctor or cardiovascular physician before beginning or stopping the taking of aspirin.

However, aspirin was also associated with a 0.47 percent higher absolute risk of severe internal bleeding. Low-dose aspirin may be considered to prevent heart attacks in adults aged 40-70 years who are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease but not at increased risk of bleeding, according to the new guidelines.

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