Maybe You Should Rethink That Daily Aspirin

In a recent national survey, more than half the adults who were middle age or older reported taking an aspirin regularly to prevent a heart attack or stroke. The Food and Drug Administration only recommends the drug for people who have already experienced such an event or are at extremely high risk. The survey, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that 52 percent of people ages 45 to 75 are taking aspirin daily or every other day. And 47 percent are taking it even though they have never had a heart attack or stroke. “That’s very controversial in the medical community,” says Craig Williams, a pharmacologist at Oregon State University, who led the study. Aspirin thins the blood and can help prevent blood clots that can clog blood vessels and cause strokes and heart attacks. But long-term use of the drug also increases the risk of ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and bleeding in the brain. The American Heart Association says aspirin should be used only for prevention when someone’s risk for heart disease is especially high. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is in the process of revising its recommendation, which currently holds that older men and women should generally take aspirin if their risk for heart attack outweighs the risk of bleeding due to the medication. Read the rest.

David Wingate is an elder law attorney practicing in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland. The elder law practice consists of powers of attorneys, wills, trusts, asset protection and Medicaid.

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