It is true that we’ve known for a long time that aspirin can have life-saving benefits if taken by people who have had a heart attack or stroke. It was then thought that healthy people could take a “baby” aspirin (81mg) every day to prevent heart attack or stroke issues from developing in the first place. However, a new study shows that aspirin may pose more risk than benefit in older adults without significant health problems.
The results of the long-awaited Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study followed 19,000 healthy patients older than 70 for over seven years and looked to see if there was a benefit to taking a low-dose aspirin. The results were surprising—the patients who took a daily aspirin weren’t any healthier than those who didn’t. In fact, the study found that those who took an aspirin were at higher risk of complications, including bleeding from the gastro-intestinal system or brain. The study also suggested that those patients on aspirin may have a higher risk of dying due to cancer, although further analyses of these data are still pending.
It is important to note that the patients enrolled in the study were healthy. They did not have a history of stroke, heart disease, vascular disease, or dementia, and aspirin has shown to be a great advantage in patients with these diagnosed issues. The most important take-away here is to discuss with your doctor if an aspirin regimen is a smart choice for you. As always, we at Harper Health are up to date on the latest data and here to guide you in the right direction.
Modern medicine, good old-fashioned care.