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An aspirin a day may not keep a heart attack away

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Published: May. 19, 2022 at 5:04 AM CDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - More than 859,000 Americans die of heart attacks or strokes every year. For years, doctors have prescribed aspirin to help prevent a cardiovascular event in healthy people, but research has been mixed on the benefits. Ivanhoe reports on a study that offers new insights.

Could an aspirin a day keep a heart attack away? Cardiologists have prescribed aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attack in healthy individuals for years. But recently the U.S. Preventive Services task force has proposed recommendations to limit daily aspirin use in this group. The panel said aspirin should only rarely be used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people ages 40 to 70 who don’t have heart disease or haven’t had a cardiovascular event. They say the risks of aspirin in these patients often outweigh the benefits.

“There is risk. Aspirin is associated with bleeding, oftentimes in the form of gastrointestinal bleeding,” detailed Anthony Bavry, MD, an Interventional Cardiologist at University of Florida.

Now a new review of ten studies sheds more light on the matter. Investigators found aspirin produced a 13 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, with similar benefits seen at older ages in each of the trials. The authors suggest that doctors make individual decisions about prescribing aspirin to healthy individuals on a case-by-case basis, based on benefit-to-risk, not age alone. Still experts recommend people who have heart disease or who’ve had a cardiovascular event still take a daily aspirin. Your best bet is to talk to your doctor to see if a daily aspirin could help you.

Other ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack include stopping smoking, daily exercise, weight loss, and the use of cholesterol-lowering or blood pressure drugs if needed. According to the American Heart Association, more than 80 percent of all cardiovascular events may be prevented by making lifestyle changes.

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