Rethinking the idea of taking an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks, dementia and strokes according to the NY Times.

Rethinking the idea of taking an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks, dementia  and strokes according to the NY Times.

The idea of taking an aspirin a day to prevent strokes has been around for years, and it has been promoted by many doctors for the prevention of heart attacks, dementia  and strokes.

According to 3 recent papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine, people 70 years and older do not have any benefit from this regimen.  On the other hand, the use of aspirin as a preventative agent actually caused a slight increase in overall mortality with those who had cancer. The papers also ask the question about whether healthy people need to be taking aspirin to help them stay healthy and reduce health risks later in life.

Aspirin is a pain reliever that has been around since the 1890’s according to Wikipedia and has been known to be safe and effective with occasional use.  Bayer had discovered acetylsalicilic acid and named it aspirin. Bayer Aspirin (aspirin) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prescribed for treating fever, pain, inflammation in the body, prevention of blood clots, and reduction of the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Common side effects of the drug include ;Rash, gastrointestinal ulcerations, abdominal pain, upset stomach, heartburn, drowsiness, headache, cramping, nausea, gastritis, and bleeding.

Considering its list of side effects, the idea of using aspirin to prevent anything should have come into question years ago.

As with many non steroidal pain relievers, aspirin should be used sporadically as needed, but caution should be used if it were to be used long term, since we are now learning that especially in older people, aspirin can cause problems instead of prevent them.

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Low-Dose Aspirin Late in Life? Healthy People May Not Need It

By Denise Grady Sept. 16, 2018

Should older people in good health start taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks, strokes, dementia and cancer?

No, according to a study of more than 19,000 people, including whites 70 and older, and blacks and Hispanics 65 and older. They took low-dose aspirin — 100 milligrams — or a placebo every day for a median of 4.7 years. Aspirin did not help them — and may have done harm.

Taking it did not lower their risks of cardiovascular disease, dementia or disability. And it increased the risk of significant bleeding in the digestive tract, brain or other sites that required transfusions or admission to the hospital.

The results were published on Sunday in three articles in The New England Journal of Medicine.

One disturbing result puzzled the researchers because it had not occurred in previous studies: a slightly greater death rate among those who took aspirin, mostly because of an increase in cancer deaths — not new cancer cases, but death from the disease. That finding needs more study before any conclusions can be drawn, the authors cautioned. Scientists do not know what to make of it, particularly because earlier studies had suggested that aspirin could lower the risk of colorectal cancer.

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