Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Taking Baby Aspirin Every Day Can Actually Have Serious Health Risks

Taking Baby Aspirin Every Day Can Actually Have Serious Health Risks

One of the most vital beliefs is that an aspirin a day keeps the doctor at bay. "What we've demonstrated is that there really is no significant benefit of being on a low dose daily aspirin if you're healthy and 70 and older, and that the risk of bleeding outweigh the benefits".

A new study confirms aspirin does not help prevent a first heart attack in older adults or prolong your lifespan.

Details of the trial were published in three papers in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study began in 2010 and enrolled participants aged 70 and older; 65 was the minimum age of entry for African-American and Hispanic individuals in the United States due to their higher risk for dementia and cardiovascular disease.

Doctors in Australia and the United States enrolled more than 19,000 healthy people - whites over the age of 70 and blacks and Hispanics aged 65 and older - in the study.

Roughly half of participants were given 100 mg of low-dose aspirin, while the rest were given a placebo. The study also compared people who took aspirin with those who did not and the incidence of dementia.

The study also discovered an increase in deaths from cancer, although the researchers think this needs further investigation as it goes against current findings in the field. The new study was created to find out whether low-dose aspirin could prolong healthy, independent living in seniors who had not shown signs of heart disease.

With this study comes the revelation that just because a low-dose aspirin routine might be beneficial for people who have pre-existing heart conditions or have suffered a stroke does not make it safe for older individuals who are otherwise healthy.

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ASPREE was led by Monash University in Australia and the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research in the USA. Patients who were black or Hispanic and living in the United States were included in the study as they face a higher risk of heart disease or dementia generally. There's also a possibility that any colorectal cancer benefit wasn't seen because the subjects had only been followed for about five years. Do you take aspirin regularly?

Researchers found people taking the aspirin showed a significantly higher risk of bleeding, such as hemorrhages.

And what about people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol who might be taking other medicines to mitigate a higher risk of heart attack or stroke? Hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal hemorrhages or hemorrhages at other sites that required transfusion or hospitalization occurred in 361 people on aspirin and in 265 taking the placebo.

The primary study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial - considered the gold standard for clinical trials.

Taking it did not lower their risks of cardiovascular disease, dementia or disability.

When the researchers looked at death, disability and dementia, they found virtually no difference between the aspirin-taking group and the group given a placebo: 21.5 events per 1000 person-years in the former and 21.2 per 1000 person-years in the latter.

Finally, the third study saw "higher all-cause mortality ... among apparently healthy older adults who received daily aspirin than among those who received [a] placebo and was attributed primarily to cancer-related death".

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