The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has come out strongly against initiating daily aspirin use for adults age 60 or older who have not had their first heart attack or stroke because of concerns about internal bleeding.
Aspirin is one of the most common and effective medications in our arsenal. It is used to treat fever, lessen pain, or tamp down inflammation, but it is also used to prevent heart attacks, ischemic strokes, or blood clots among those considered at higher risk.
The new USPSTF guidelines do not dispute aspirins’ proven benefits for preventing heart attacks or strokes. Still, they are concerned about the side-effect risks of millions of Americans taking aspirin every day without doctor monitoring and without an accurate diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
- Adults with a stent or a prior heart attack or stroke should not stop taking aspirin.
- Adults 40-59 at high risk for cardiovascular disease: Decide with your doctor if you should start taking a daily aspirin. Your doctor will assess if you have a 10% or greater 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease.
- Adults 60+ without cardiovascular disease: Do not start taking a daily aspirin
Other things to consider regular exercise, improved diet, meditation, other stress-reduction techniques, and healthier sleeping habits all lower cardiovascular risk.
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