Aspirin no longer recommended for heart attack, stroke prevention


They come on the heels of studies released a year ago that said daily low-dose aspirin - 100 milligrams or less - did not help older adults who do not have cardiovascular disease.

Those patients who have met with their physicians and they have known heart disease or had a cardiovascular event those are the people that definitely benefit form continued low dose aspirin therapy.

Doctors may consider aspirin for certain older high-risk patients, such as those who have trouble lowering their cholesterol or managing their blood sugars, as long as there is no increased risk for internal bleeding, the guidelines in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology say. In fact, a 2017 research by Swedish scientists found that those who suddenly stopped taking aspiring had become 37 percent more at risk for stroke and heart attack.

The guidelines suggest rather than turing to aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke everyone should be smarter about their health in general.

"For the most part, we are now much better at treating risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and especially high cholesterol", said cardiologist Carolina Campbell, who was not involved in the new guidelines.

Keeping good heart health means maintaining a healthy weight.

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According to the guideline, any effort to prevent a first instance of cardiovascular disease (called primary prevention) should ideally start with a thorough assessment of one's risk - that is, estimating how likely someone is to develop blockages in their arteries and have a heart attack or stroke or die as a result.

"Clinically significant bleeding - hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal hemorrhages or hemorrhages at other sites that required transfusion or hospitalization - occurred in 361 people (3.8 percent) on aspirin and in 265 (2.7 percent) taking the placebo", the release explains.

Eating heart healthier - choosing more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains and fish, and limiting salt, saturated fats, fried foods, processed meats and sweetened beverages; specific eating plans like the Mediterranean, DASH and vegetarian diets are reviewed. Recent studies also question the effectiveness of the treatment.

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. The updated guidelines do not change the recommendation of aspirin in secondary prevention, and demonstrate that there is still a role for aspirin in primary prevention.

John Hopkins cardiologist Roger Blumenthal, who co-chaired the new guidelines, said clinicians should be very selective when prescribing aspirin for people without heart disease.