Advice shifting on aspirin use for preventing heart attacks

Bleeding risks for adults in their 60s and up who haven’t had a heart attack or stroke outweigh any potential benefits from aspirin, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in its draft guidance.

News 12 Staff

Oct 12, 2021, 10:00 PM

Updated 976 days ago

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Older adults without heart disease shouldn’t take daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, an influential health guidelines group said in preliminary updated advice released Tuesday.
Bleeding risks for adults in their 60s and up who haven’t had a heart attack or stroke outweigh any potential benefits from aspirin, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in its draft guidance.
The recommendations are meant for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity or other conditions that increase their chances for a heart attack or stroke. Regardless of age, adults should talk with their doctors about stopping or starting aspirin to make sure it’s the right choice for them, said task force member Dr. John Wong, a primary-care expert at Tufts Medical Center.
“Aspirin use can cause serious harms, and risk increases with age,” he said.
Health care workers, however, say those already taking a daily aspirin under a doctor’s direction can continue to do so.
Dr. Evelina Grayver, director of the Women’s Heart Program at Northwell Health, says that people who are already taking aspirin every day can continue to do so.
“That’s my biggest fear—is that people will interpret it that they should stop it immediately,” Grayver says.
Florette Loughlin, 84, says she has been taking an aspirin every day since 2002 because she has a pacemaker.
“I’m still here,” Loughlin says. “That’s all I care about.”
Others say they have kept aspirin out of their lives and have just worked on staying active instead.
(Associated Press wires contributed to this story)


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