Aspirin: People over certain age shouldn’t use it to prevent first heart attack – risks

AstraZeneca: Aspirin is 'probably more dangerous' says expert

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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) shared that Americans over the age of 60 shouldn’t take a daily tablet of aspirin to stave off a first heart attack or stroke. Low-dose of this painkiller is often recommended to ward-off these emergencies in people at high risk.

USPSTF comprises 17 experts from universities across the U.S.

These experts have shared that people over 60 are at a slightly higher risk of internal bleeding after taking aspirin.

Their statement also informed that 40 to 59-year-olds must only take the painkiller daily if they are at a genetic risk of heart disease and talked to their doctor.

When it comes to over 75-year-olds, they shouldn’t take the drugs because of the little benefit it offers in older age.

Aspirin might be best-known as an over-the-counter painkiller; however, many take this drug to prevent a heart attack and a stroke as well.

It can be also used for warding off blood clots or other similar problems.

This is because a daily-low dose of this popular painkiller makes your blood less sticky, helping to prevent these emergencies, the NHS explains.

The health service warns that you should be only taking aspirin for preventative purposes after speaking to your doctor.

The first to recommend against the use of aspirin for prevention of a first heart attack was the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The USPTF then updated its guidance to match this advice.

Speaking to ABC News, Dr Michael Barry, USPTF’s vice-chair, said: “Based on current evidence, the task force recommends against people 60 and older starting to take aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke.

“Because the chance of internal bleeding increases with age, the potential harms of aspirin use cancel out the benefits in this age group.”

However, this guidance doesn’t apply to those who are taking aspirin to stave off a second heart attack or stroke.

It should also be followed only by patients who are just starting a course of aspirin treatment.

Those who are currently taking aspirin for this reason shouldn’t stop unless consulting their doctor.

What is the risk of internal bleeding from aspirin?

While using an occasional aspirin to relieve pain is considered safe for the majority of people, daily use of this painkiller can cause serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal bleeding.

The risk of bleeding from aspirin goes up even more as you get older, the Mayo Clinic warns.

The warning sign of gastrointestinal bleeding include:

  • Vomiting blood (might be red or might be dark brown and resemble coffee grounds in texture)
  • Black, tarry stool
  • Rectal bleeding (usually in or with stool)
  • Light-headedness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain.

Remember, not to stop aspirin treatment unless speaking to your doctor.

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