Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Is Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Really Worth It for Seniors?

The use of aspirin by healthy people over 70 had no real impact on a person's likelihood to suffer from heart disease An aspirin a day will not keep the doctor away, new study says
Delores Daniels | 20 September, 2018, 14:28

When they were followed up after a period of five years, the research team found the aspirin group did not show any overall reduction in their risk of heart attack or stroke compared to their counterparts.

Aspirin-related compounds have been used for the treatment of pain since the 16th century BC, when it was reported that people chewed on the bark of willow and papyrus. This may have implications for healthy, elderly people around the world who take low-dose aspirin without a medical reason.

The study found an aspirin-a-day did not prolong life free of disability, or significantly reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke among participants - with little difference between the placebo and aspirin groups.

Using the help of Global Positioning System, researchers recruited 16,703 older people in Australia and 2411 in the United States, with approximately 9500 people in both the aspirin and the placebo group.

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Dr Nespolon said while there have been mixed opinions on whether giving healthy people aspirin is a good idea, this new study "clearly shows people over 70 shouldn't be taking aspirin as simply an aid to their health".

Their findings were published Sunday in The New England Journal of Medicine. Also, since only 11 percent of participants had regularly taken low-dose aspirin prior to entering the study, the implications of ASPREE's findings need further investigation to determine whether healthy older people who have been regularly using aspirin for disease prevention should continue or discontinue use.

"People aged over 45 with no known coronary heart disease will benefit most from a healthy lifestyle and seeing their doctor for risk assessments such as blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels", a spokesperson for the Heart Foundation said. All participants had to be free of dementia or a physical disability.

Dr. Margolis said they've only just begun to scratch the surface of what they could learn about the long term effects of aspirin on people over the age of 70.

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The participants were then followed for an average of 4.7 years. "Aspirin is a double-edged sword; it is absolutely essential drug and a lifesaver in patients with established heart disease (or arterial blockages) and many patients with diabetes where risk is high".

Apart from having no particular positive impact, it was seen to increase the chance of developing a hemorrhage and life-threatening bleeding.

Professor McNeil added that a small increase in deaths observed in the aspirin group, primarily from cancer, required further investigation as researchers can not rule out that it may be a chance finding.

"That's an issue in the elderly when people's blood vessels are a bit more fragile", Professor McNeil said. "These initial findings will help to clarify the role of aspirin in disease prevention for older adults, but much more needs to be learned". 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.

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One of the most vital beliefs is that an aspirin a day keeps the doctor at bay. They noted however the escalated rate of bleeding in the team that accrued aspirin, as compared to the team that accrued a placebo.

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