Experts have long recommended that low doses of aspirin might help with preventing heart disease, as the drug stops blood clots from being created. Now, experts are starting to walk back on this claim, warning people who are 60 or older to not go along with this daily regimen.
Why was aspirin recommended for heart disease prevention?
The most usual type of heart disease is known to be coronary artery disease, according to the CDC. This form of heart disease happens when your arteries in your heart become too narrow or blocked due to plaque buildup, inhibiting your blood vessels to move oxygen-rich blood.
When plaque buildup damages your arteries, blood clots can come as your body attempts to control this damage. And since plaque already leads to your arteries being narrow, a clot can block your blood vessel completely, which stops blood from getting to your brain and even feeding your heart. This is how strokes and a heart attacks happen.
What are they saying now?
The NY Times reported this week that new guidelines from experts in the United States Preventive Services Task Force suggested that doctors should not make this recommendation anymore—especially for people who are over 60. This warning is due to “mounting evidence” that the risks of having serious side effects coming from aspirin is worse than the one benefit.
“There is no longer a one-size-fits-all statement that everyone at risk for heart disease, even though they are heart attack fee, should be taking aspirin,” Dr. Chien Tseng, a part of the health task force and who is the director of community health within the University of Hawaii, said. “We must be smarter when we match prevention to only do this for the people who will truly get the most benefit and have the least amount of harm.”
The AHA (American Heart Association) and the American Cardiology College were the first two groups to address this topic, releasing new guidelines in 2019 that said a low-dose aspirin was not recommended anymore as a preventative step for older people who don’t currently have heart disease or who are not at high risk.
These new rules are not set in stone yet, however, they might affect millions of people who are now at high risk of heart disease.
Author: Steven Sinclaire