Aged over 70 and healthy? A daily aspirin won't help

Aspirin

Do you or someone you know take a low-dose of aspirin because you believe that it could reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, memory-related issues and cancer?

STEIN: Now, a daily baby aspirin is still totally smart for many people who have had a heart attack or stroke or are at risk for one.

"The increase in cancer deaths in study participants in the aspirin group was surprising, given prior studies suggesting aspirin use improved cancer outcomes", said Leslie Ford, associate director for clinical research from the National Cancer Institute.

"We found there was no evidence that aspirin did healthy people any good in terms of living longer, remaining free of disability for longer, or preventing cardiovascular disease", he said.

"Clinical guidelines note the benefits of aspirin for preventing heart attacks and strokes in persons with vascular conditions such as coronary artery disease", Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, which helped fund the research, said in a news release.

The study found the higher death rate in the aspirin-treated group was due primarily to a higher rate of cancer deaths.

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.

A low daily dose of the blood-thinning medicine has limited health benefits for older people hoping to prolong good health, a study involving more than 19,000 participants found.

Aspirin
Aspirin doesn’t reduce heart attack risk Australian study. Pixabay

The doctors unexpectedly found that those who took aspirin were slightly more likely to have died over the course of the trial (5.9%) than those who took the placebo (5.2%).

"If they have such disease in the past, they need to take the aspirin to prevent the recurrence of similar disease in the future", he said. When blood flow to the heart is cut out, it can lead to a heart attack.

These were the findings of a seven-year study into the benefits and risks of a daily, low dose of aspirin in people over 70 years. Instead, it actually increased participants' risk of "significant bleeding in the digestive tract, brain, or other sites that required transfusions or admission to the hospital", the Times reported.

"But we have not identified results that are strikingly different", McNeil said in an email.

However he added the findings didn't apply to people who have previously had a heart attack or stroke or had an existing condition such as angina. After nearly five years, the researchers did not perceive a contrast between two groups as far as disability-free survival was concerned.

Dr. Ravi Dave says aspirin may make sense for a small group of older, healthy patients, even if they haven't already had a heart attack or stroke, such as smokers.

No individual component of the primary endpoint made a case for the benefit of aspirin, which failed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well (10.7 versus 11.3 events per 1,000 person-years, HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.83-1.08). They did, however, document a higher rate of bleeding in the group that received aspirin, compared to the group that received a placebo. However, more research was needed to investigate its use more thoroughly.

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