The US Preventive Services Task Force have updated their guidelines about heart attack and stroke prevention. Adults between 50 and 59 years old should take a low-dose of aspirin daily, which might reduce the high risk of cardiovascular disease and even the risk for colorectal cancer. The benefits of daily low-dose aspirin might apply to people aged between 60 and 69, but the drug intake should be made based on the patient’s circumstances. The new recommendation was proven to be beneficial only for patients between 50 and 70 years old.
Aspirin is an antiplatelet drug that prevents the formation of blood clots, it is also a pain relieving and anti-inflammatory drug widely used by the population. The drug has to be taken in small doses to have an antiplatelet effect and in higher doses to relieve pain and work as an anti-inflammatory drug. Although aspirin was used before, after a first heart attack or stroke, nowadays doctors are recommended to start prescribing it to their 50 to 59 years old cardiovascular patients before their first heart attack/stroke. Behind US Preventive Services Task Forces decision lay numerous studies about long-term use of aspirin. It does indeed increase the risk of having gastrointestinal bleeding so cardiovascular patients should talk to their doctors before taking any aspirin.
All in all, taking aspirin daily in a low-dose is beneficial for individuals between 50 and 69 years old but there are still around 10% of patients in the US who are prescribed aspirin inappropriately. Keep in mind that taking daily low-dose aspirin only decreases the risk of having an heart attack or stroke, it doesn’t completely prevent it.