The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found that low-dose aspirin may help the elderly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke on the long run. The federal panel recommends patients in the 50 to 69 age group at a high risk of stroke and heart attack to take aspirin.
Experts, however, advise patients to consult first their doctors. The panel’s report stirred hot debates when it was first issued last fall. Critics said that the drug may boost bleeding problems if patients would follow panel’s suggestions. Nevertheless, federal experts haven’t changed their position ever since but urged caution.
The task force explained that people with the highest risk of heart attack and stroke are those in their fifties and sixties. This group could benefit the most from taking aspirin. Plus, separate research had found that this group’s risk of colorectal cancer could also decrease due to aspirin.
The panel added that while the strongest health outcomes were observed in the 50 to 69 age group, patients that are older should take aspirin after taking advice from their doctors. Study investigators couldn’t’ measure the cardiovascular risk in younger people or those that are over 70 years old.
Last fall, federal experts said that they recommend aspirin to people that have a 10 percent increased risk of heart disease or stroke, which represents a 10-year risk. But other clinicians said that aspirin should not be recommended unless patients have more than 20 percent risk of heart disease or stroke.
Regardless of the type of risk, the advice is only for ‘primary intervention’ i.e. for people that have not been affected by a cardiovascular incident yet.
The latest recommendations are consistent with past studies that had shown aspirin can cut risk of heart disease on the long run. Due to those studies many people take aspirin on a daily basis to stave off cardiovascular disease.
Plus, an Oxford team found that daily dose of aspirin may trim the risk of developing several cancers in the middle age. The effects are visible only after two to three years, Dr. Peter Rothwell and his team noted. Rothwell also said that daily aspirin may reduce tumor growth in existing cancers, which could prove life-saving in fatal cancers.
The task force published their recommendations on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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