Why Is Guidance Changing
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force reclassified some of its recommendations on taking low-dose aspirin as a heart attack preventative for people in certain age groups without known cardiovascular disease based on new research and analysis that weighed risks and benefits. While taking daily low-dose aspirin can reduce the risk of a heart attack, it can also increase the risk of bleeding.
New Recommendations Focus On Primary Prevention Of Cardiovascular Events
In adults ages 40 to 59 who have a 10 percent or higher 10-year cardiovascular disease risk, the decision to take low-dose aspirin should be an individual one, says the panel. Evidence indicates that the net benefit of aspirin use in this group is small. Per the statement, people who are willing to take low-dose aspirin every day and arent at increased risk of bleeding are more likely to benefit.
For people age 60 or older, the panel recommends against starting low-dose aspirin for the primary prevention of CVD.
Its very important to distinguish between primary and secondary prevention, says Dr. Wilkins. Primary prevention recommendations are intended to prevent the first occurrence of a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular disease event, he says. Secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease is preventing recurrent events in people who have already had a heart attack, stroke, or coronary revascularization procedure like a stent or a bypass surgery, says Wilkins.
These guidelines apply only to the primary prevention group they dont apply in any way to people who already have established cardiovascular disease. The last thing we want is for people who have had a procedure, such as having a stent put in, to stop their daily aspirin. That would be very dangerous, he says.
Aspirin No Longer Recommended As A Preventative Measure Against Heart Attacks And Strokes In Older Individuals
The guideline change is based on bleeding risks some may face when taking the blood thinner
The United States Preventive Services Task Force released a draft guideline on October 12 stating that a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin is no longer recommended as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems in older adults without heart disease, reports Lindsey Tanner for the Associated Press.
Individuals over 60 should not take preventive aspirin because of the age-related risk for life-threatening bleeding. The guidelines are not yet final but may affect tens of millions of adults at high risk for cardiovascular disease, reports Roni Caryn Rabin for the New York Times.
Ultimately, those currently on a low-dose aspirin regimen or who have cardiovascular risk factors should talk to their doctors about what is best for them.
We dont recommend anyone stop without talking to a clinician, and definitely not if they have already had a heart attack or stroke, says Chien-Wen Tseng, a USPTF member and a University of Hawaii research director, to the New York Times.
The report also states that those aged between 40 and 60 and worried about their heart health should decide to take aspirin on a case-by-case basis, reports Ed Cara for Gizmodo.
The draft recommendation statement is currently open for public comment until November 8, before a final version of the report Is published, the New York Times reports.
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Who Can And Cannot Take Low
Most people aged 16 or over can safely take low-dose aspirin if their doctor recommends it.
Low-dose aspirin isn’t suitable for certain people.
It’s sometimes called baby aspirin because of the small dose, but it’s not safe for children.
Never give aspirin to a child younger than 16, unless their doctor prescribes it.
There’s a possible link between aspirin and Reye’s syndrome in children.
Reye’s syndrome is a very rare illness that can cause serious liver and brain damage.
Aspirin Use To Prevent 1st Heart Attack Or Stroke Should Be Curtailed Us Panel Says
Adults at high risk for cardiovascular disease may face serious side effects if they start a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin.
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Doctors should no longer routinely start most people who are at high risk of heart disease on a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin, according to new draft guidelines by a U.S. panel of experts.
The proposed recommendation is based on mounting evidence that the risk of serious side effects far outweighs the benefit of what was once considered a remarkably cheap weapon in the fight against heart disease.
The U.S. panel also plans to retreat from its 2016 recommendation to take baby aspirin for the prevention of colorectal cancer, guidance that was groundbreaking at the time. The panel said more recent data had raised questions about the benefits for cancer, and that more research was needed.
On the use of low-dose or baby aspirin, the recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force would apply to people younger than 60 who were at high risk of heart disease and for whom a new daily regimen of the mild analgesic might have been a tool to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. The proposed guidelines would not apply to those already taking aspirin or those who have already had a heart attack.
Those who are already taking baby aspirin should talk to their doctor.
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Fda Warns Aspirin Isnt For Everyone
The updated guidance recommends that adults in their 40s and 50s only take aspirin as a preventive measure if their doctors determine they are at higher risk for heart disease and that aspirin may lower the risk without significant risk of bleeding. People ages 60 or older are now advised not to start taking aspirin to prevent first heart attacks or strokes.
The draft recommendations dont apply to people who have already had heart attacks or strokes the task force still recommends that they take aspirin preventively.
For anyone who is on aspirin because theyve already had a heart attack or stroke, its a very important medication, said Dr. Erin Michos, an associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, who isnt part of the task force.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and according to the most recent data available, 29 million adults in the U.S. take aspirin daily to prevent heart disease even though they dont have histories of it.
Aspirin acts as an anticoagulant, meaning it helps to prevent blood clots from forming. A clot that cuts off blood flow to the heart leads to a heart attack one that cuts off blood flow to the brain causes a stroke. The idea behind taking a daily low-dose aspirin was to lower the risk of such clots, lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Also extremely important? Lifestyle changes.
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What Recommendations Are Being Made
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force analysis found that for people age 60 and above, without preexisting cardiovascular disease, the increased risk of bleeding from taking aspirin may outweigh the potential benefit of reducing the risk of a heart attack. For people age 40-59, with an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years, the benefit of taking aspirin may outweigh the risk for bleeding. However, individual circumstances may also influence whether someone should consider taking aspirin as a heart attack preventative.
What To Consider Before Making The Decision To Start Or Stop Taking Baby Aspirin As A Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Taking daily low-dose, or baby aspirin, is a known heart attack preventative, but it can also increase the risk of bleeding.
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently released new preliminary guidance for using aspirin as a heart attack preventative for people without preexisting cardiovascular disease, such as a prior heart attack, stroke, stent replacement, coronary artery bypass graft , or peripheral artery disease.
Cardiologist Andrew Sumner, MD, with Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute, explains the recommendations and why the decision whether to take aspirin to prevent a heart attack should balance potential benefits with potential risks.
Is Taking Aspirin Good For Your Heart
If youve had a heart attack or stroke, theres no doubt that taking low-dose aspirin is beneficial, says Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., associate director of preventive cardiology for the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. But if you dont have heart disease, should you take it just in case? The answer for most individuals is probably not.
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Aspirin For The Heart: One Dose Doesnt Fit All
For decades, millions of Americans have been advised to take low dose aspirin daily to prevent heart attacks and strokes. But new research is raising questions about this common practice.
Its not that aspirin doesnt work to keep the heart healthy. It does. Its just that the dose your doctor wants you to take may need to change in order to be right for you. Doctors recommend aspirin because it helps to prevent clots from forming that can block blood flow to the heart or brain, causing heart attacks and strokes.
The American Heart Association has recommended that people at high risk of a heart attack take a daily low-dose aspirin if their doctors recommend it. People who have had a heart attack are often advised to take it to prevent them from having another heart attack.
The new study found that a persons weight affects whether aspirin helps to prevent a heart attack or not. Low-dose aspirin works best for people who weigh between 110 and about 153 pounds. It doesnt prevent heart attacks in people who weigh more than about 154 pounds. And when heavier people on low-dose aspirin have a heart attack or stroke, theyre more likely to die from the heart problem than people on aspirin who weigh less.
What does it all mean? Some people may be taking too much aspirin and others too little. And your weight may be an important new factor in how much aspirin you take.
Why Take An Aspirin While Waiting For The Paramedics
A heart attack, also called myocardial infarction, is usually a form of acute coronary syndrome . ACS is triggered by the rupture of a plaque within a coronary artery. This plaque rupture causes a thrombus to form within the artery, leading to a blockage. The portion of the heart muscle being supplied by the artery then begins to die. The death of heart muscle is what defines a myocardial infarction.
What this means is that, at the time you are having a heart attack, a big part of the problem is the growth of a blood clot within the affected artery. Formation of this blood clot depends to a large extent on the blood platelets, which are tiny blood cells whose job is to participate in blood clotting.
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Who Is Most At Risk For Heart Attacks And Stroke
Both age and sex affect risk. Older people are at greater risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes. Men tend to experience cardiovascular problems at younger ages than women.
And heart disease takes a greater toll on ethnic and racial minorities. Black Americans have among the highest rates of cardiovascular disease.
Aspirin Should Not Be Used Routinely For Prevention Of First Heart Attack Or Stroke Says Task Force
USPSTF cites recent evidence that shows aspirin bleeding risk outweighs benefits in people without established heart disease.
Adults age 60 and older who are at risk of heart disease should not start taking a daily low dose of aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke, according to the United States Preventive Services Task Force , a panel of 16 independent experts appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The recommendation, not yet finalized, is based on evidence that has accumulated over the past few years showing that the risk of potentially fatal internal bleeding caused by regular aspirin use may be greater than the preventive benefits.
This update will bring the USPSTF recommendations more in line with the current recommendations of other national organizations, such as the American Heart Association , says John Wilkins, MD, a cardiologist and an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. Its good to review evidence and update recommendations accordingly thats the nature of science, he says.
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Evidence Shows Modest Benefits Of Aspirin Often Dont Outweigh Risks
The panels proposed recommendations are in line with existing evidence, says Jim Liu, MD. Previous studies through the years have suggested that aspirin offers only a very modest, if any, benefit in preventing cardiovascular disease, he says.
In the past three years, there have been a couple of large randomized trials once again studying aspirin for preventive purposes. These newer studies have all found no significant benefit to aspirin when it comes to preventing all-cause mortality or cardiovascular mortality, says Dr. Liu. These studies did still find a slight benefit in aspirin for preventing nonfatal heart attacks, but this benefit was mostly seen in higher cardiovascular risk patients who were also at low risk of bleeding, he adds.
Can I Take 1000 Mg Of Aspirin
Usual doses for mild to moderate pain are 350 or 650 mg every 4 hours or 500 mg every 6 hours. Doses for rheumatoid arthritis include 500 mg every 4-6 hours 650 mg every 4 hours 1000 mg every 4-6 hours 1950 mg twice daily. Heart attacks are prevented with 75, 81, 162 or 325 mg daily.
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How Much Aspirin Should I Take
Always talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of aspirin therapy before beginning a regular regimen.
A dose of 81 mg, or a baby aspirin is recommended as the daily dose to prevent future heart events. There are also lower and higher dose adult aspirin varieties available. Check with your doctor first to find out what dose is right for you.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Aspirin Regularly
Taking low-dose aspirin regularly can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by preventing blood clots. Blood clots are clumps of thickened blood that can block blood flow to parts of the body. They can cause serious health problems or even death.
A blood clot can:
- Block blood flow to your heart and cause a heart attack
- Prevent blood from getting to your brain and cause a stroke
Taking aspirin regularly can prevent blood clots and lower your risk of heart attack or stroke. If you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, aspirin can lower your risk of having another one.
Taking aspirin regularly for at least 5 to 10 years can also lower your risk of colorectal cancer but experts arent sure why.
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How Does Aspirin Help Prevent Heart Attack And Stroke
Most heart attacks and strokes occur when the blood supply to a part of your heart muscle or brain is blocked. This usually starts with atherosclerosis, a process in which deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery. This buildup is called plaque.
Plaque usually affects large and medium-sized arteries. Plaques can grow large enough to significantly reduce the blood’s flow through an artery. But most of the damage occurs when a plaque becomes fragile and ruptures. Plaques that rupture cause blood clots to form that can block blood flow or break off and travel to another part of the body. This is called an embolism.
- If a blood clot blocks a blood vessel that feeds the heart, it causes a heart attack.
- If a blood clot blocks a blood vessel that feeds the brain, it causes a stroke.
Aspirin thins the blood, which helps prevent blood clots from forming.
Certain patients will be prescribed aspirin combined with another antiplatelet drug also known as dual antiplatelet therapy . Learn more about DAPT.
Will An Aspirin A Day Really Keep A Heart Attack Away
Will an aspirin a day keep a heart attack at bay?
The answer: It depends.
If youve had a heart attack or stroke, or are at high risk for one , your doctor may recommend you take a daily aspirin. Aspirin has long been promoted for its benefits to those with heart and cardiovascular disease. It can help reduce the risk of blood clots forming inside an artery and blocking blood flow to the heart or brain. Aspirin use could also play a role in the prevention of certain cancers, such as colon and rectal cancers.
There are several groups of patients with established heart disease who benefit from aspirin to prevent developing recurrent cardiovascular events, also known as secondary prevention, said Brian Henry, MD, a cardiologist at Banner Health in Colorado. These include patients with a history of heart attack, ischemic stroke and stable ischemic heart diseaseincluding those who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery or coronary artery stenting, stable peripheral artery disease or carotid artery disease.
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How Do You Know If You Are At Greater Risk For Heart Disease Or Stroke
The risk of suffering a stroke or a heart attack increases with age. Family history, additional medical conditions, ethnic or racial background and lifestyle factors also play a role.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: they smoke cigarettes, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.