ACC/AHA guideline for prevention of cardiovascular disease released


Experts have long suggested that taking a low-dose aspirin each day can prevent cardiovascular issues, but a recent clinical trial found it had no effect among older patients, and could even lead to other health issues like hemorrhages or ulcers. They come on the heels of studies released past year that said daily low-dose aspirin - 100 milligrams or less - did not help older adults who do not have cardiovascular disease.

The new heart health guidelines were issued jointly by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA).

Blumenthal said that it is more important to change lifestyle and dietary habits, alongside regular physician consultations, to manage blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

For people who have had a heart attack, stroke, open heart surgery or stents placed to open clogged arteries, aspirin can be lifesaving.

The committee reminded individuals that a healthy way of life is the most crucial method to avoid the onset of atherosclerotic heart disease, cardiac arrest, and atrial fibrillation.

"Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease", Dr. Roger Blumenthal, co-chair of the 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, said in a statement.

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If you're a healthy older adult looking for ways to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, don't turn to that age-old standby: daily low-dose aspirin.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association are recommending that low-dose aspirin be used strictly on a case by case basis. "This makes the biggest difference, probably nullifying any previously perceived benefit of aspirin in primary prevention".

Daily aspirin use is listed as possibly providing a weak benefit to adults known to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, but specifically not at greater risk of bleeding.

However, aspirin was also associated with a 0.47 percent higher absolute risk of severe internal bleeding. The higher death rate in the aspirin-treated group was due primarily to a higher rate of cancer deaths.

One study published last fall showed that positive cardiovascular outcomes from an aspirin regimen were "equally balanced by major bleeding events".

Dr. Chauhan adds that patients should only follow their doctor's advice and not initiate or discontinue an aspirin regimen on their own. Healthy eating also means limiting the intake of other things like salt, saturated fats, fried foods, processed meats, and sweetened beverages.