Rethinking ‘an Aspirin a Day’

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Rethinking ‘an Aspirin a Day’

New research weighs the effectiveness of the regimen

Should you or should you not take an aspirin a day as part of a preventive regimen to reduce the risk of first-time heart attack or stroke? It’s been a controversial directive for some time, and new research from Japan may explain the dilemma.

In the study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers monitored the effects of a preventive dose of aspirin. The scientists split 14,646 men and women aged 60 to 85 into two groups. The daily aspirin group saw 58 die of heart-related incidents, with 2.77 percent suffering heart attack or stroke. Surprisingly, the numbers in the non-aspirin group were nearly identical, with 57 deaths and 2.96 percent experiencing heart attack or stroke. The study was halted after five years.

So should you stop taking aspirin?

Doctors say not so fast. Cardiologist Kevin Dunsky, M.D, director of diagnostic and preventive medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told Yahoo Health: “There isn’t great data that anyone who just exhibits risk factors should be on aspirin.” So doctors are left to evaluate their patients on “an individual, case-by-case basis.”

Note that this study only looked at the efficacy of an aspirin regimen as part of prevention for first-time heart attacks. People who have already suffered a heart attack may still benefit from a dose a day for secondary prevention. So if you’ve been prescribed aspirin, don’t stop taking it without a discussion with your physician. Your personal medical history will dictate the direction of your health care.

BHM Edit Staff