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.
The leading cause of injury that leads to death in people over age 65 is falling.
That means 27,000 older adults in the US will not survive a fall in a year.
Nearly 1 in 3 older adults will fall in a given year.
That adds up to 29,000,000 (yes, that says 29 million) falls in a single year, resulting in 7 million injuries.
Ouch. So we, like our egg-shaped friend on the wall, need to be careful!
On the radio program last week, my colleague, HCMC Geriatrician Dr. Larry Kerzner joined me in the WCCO studios for a conversation about falls. If you missed that show, check out the podcast (without commercial breaks!) and listen on your computer or mobile device. Click the logo here to get to the podcast:
(Healthy Matters show #439, June 4, 2017)
For now, let’s move beyond the grim statistics and learn a bit . . .
Before I get started on this post . . . I have started reading How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, which is the selection for our online Healthy Matters book club. Check out the recent post about it here and start reading!
Check out our dog, Zoe.
She is a sweet and happy beast with bad hips and definitely has some issues with staying tidy. This is a small sampling of her extensive toy collection which is strewn throughout our house. She’s a slob.
So why am I showing pictures of my dog?
Just imagine yourself in the middle of the night navigating that minefield of toys and dog beds and sleeping dogs and not tripping. Ugh. I’m going to talk about falls, mostly in the elderly, but really it could be in anybody.
In this post you will find:
Photo evidence of my “research” in the form of an unplanned walk through my own house.
A story of a patient for whom a fall was life-changing.
Risk factors for falls.
Lots of links to great resources and videos.
Guidance from experts in fall prevention from the Healthy Matters radio show.
Two cools things – a checklist for safety in your own home and video clips which demonstrate the effect of vision on falls. Check out both of these later in this post