Aspirin for people over 70? New science right here.

Photo: NIAID

I know many people who take a daily aspirin in an effort to stay healthy.  I even know many doctors who recommend it.  But you may be surprised to know about what the actual medical science says about aspirin.

Back in 2016, I wrote a post that proved to be one of the most-popular that whole year.  In that post I described the guidelines for who, and who should not, be taking a daily aspirin.  Fortunately, that post is still largely accurate and these guidelines have not changed in the past two years.  You can read that 2016 post here.

But there is now a massive new study about a group of people for which there was no medical science one way or the other.  The new study, called ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) was just published in September 2018 and it specifically looked at healthy people over age 70.

The one thing you need to know

There is no data to support healthy people 70 and older for taking a daily aspirin, and in fact, it likely has more risks than any potential benefit.

I will expand a bit on this new data in this post.

Continue reading “Aspirin for people over 70? New science right here.”

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Aspirin: should you take it?

aspirinThere was a big development in health care news this week.  The buzz is all about the latest guidelines on aspirin since our friends at the US Preventive Services Task Force updated the recommendations.  It came out in the Annals of Internal Medicine just this week on April 12, 2016.  Talk about “hot off the presses” reporting, eh?  This post is going to decipher the guidelines on who should take a daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks, stroke, and now even colon cancer.  I think this is one of the most important topics I’ve covered yet.

Consider the humble aspirin

  • Descendant of willow bark
  • Invented during the reign of Queen Victoria
  • Known to doctors and nerdy people (that may be redundant) as acetylsalicylic acid (aka ASA to prescription-writers)
  • Introduced by Bayer in 1899 as a powder to treat rheumatic conditions like gout
  • Has been used for centuries (maybe without knowing why) as a pain reliever
  • Almost certainly reduces risk of heart attacks , strokes, and colon cancer.  Possibly reduces risks of esophageal, breast, ovarian, and maybe some other cancers as well.

Should I take an aspirin?

I should note that I’m going to stick to people who have NOT had a heart attack or stroke.   Those people certainly need some kind of anti-platelet treatment and aspirin is one of the best choices for many reasons and may be helpful for secondary prevention of future problems.  Here we are referring to primary prevention which means trying to prevent heart attack and stroke (and we can add colorectal cancer) in people who have never had these conditions.

So let’s get to it.  What do the new guidelines say? Continue reading “Aspirin: should you take it?”

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