New Guidelines Advise Against Daily Low-Dose Aspirin for Most People

Woman taking an aspirin

Daily aspirin no longer suggested to prevent heart attack

- For decades doctors have said a low-dose aspirin a day could prevent a heart attack or stroke in adults who have never had one, but now, they're reversing that recommendation. The American College of Cardiology recommends for now that doctors only recommend aspirin to those who are at the highest risk for cardiovascular disease and the lowest risk of bleeding, according to a statement.

"Low-dose aspirin for primary prevention [is] now reserved for select high-risk patients", according to the guidelines.

A new report from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association says the drug "should be used infrequently" for the goal of preventing cardiovascular disease "because of lack of net benefit" for most adults.

The age-old approach is no longer recommended for older adults who do not have a high risk of heart disease - or who already have it. Aspirin is not recommended especially if patients have a high risk of bleeding.

"This makes the biggest difference", he said, "probably negating any previously perceived aspirin benefit in primary prevention". 'It's much more important to optimize lifestyle habits and control blood pressure and cholesterol as opposed to recommending aspirin'. And patients deemed "high-risk" with contributing factors such as diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol will also continue to be considered for the daily therapy.

But anyone who's had a stroke, heart attack, open-heart surgery or stents inserted to open clogged arteries... aspirin can still save their life.

The new guidelines come from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology.

"Ultimately, we must individualize treatment for each patient, based on their individual situation", Campbell said.

However, previous studies have questioned the value of widespread Aspirin therapy and for otherwise healthy adults, risk may outweigh benefit. "80 percent of cardiovascular events are preventable just by what you do".

The ACC and AHA say regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco and eating a diet rich in vegetables and low in sugar and trans fats are among the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease.

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