You May Want to Think Twice Before Taking Aspirin... Panel Cautions

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In preliminary advice released by an influential health group, older adults should not take daily low-dose aspirin in hopes of preventing a first heart attack or stroke.

In draft guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, bleeding risks for adults in their 60s and up, who have not suffered from a heart attack or stroke, outweigh any potential benefit from taking aspirin as a preventative measure.

For people in their 40s who have no bleeding risk there may be a small benefit: For those in their 50s, advice was softened and evidence of benefit is less clear.

For a long time, doctors have recommended daily low-dose aspirin for patients that have already suffered through a heart attack or stroke - the task force did not change that advice.

These recommendations from the panel are for individuals who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, suffering from obesity, or any other conditions that increase their chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

Dr. John Wong, a primary-care expert at Tufts Medical Center commented on aspirin and its potential risks - he said:

"Aspirin use can cause serious harms, and risk increases with age,''

Aspirin is known as a pain reliever but also thins out blood, reducing chances for potential blood clots. Even at lower doses, aspirin has its risks. Those include bleeding in the digestive tract or even ulcers - both can be life-threatening.

The guidance from the task force is important because many adults take aspirin though they have never had a heart attack or stroke, Dr. Lauren Block - an internist-researcher at Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research said.

You may want to do some research before taking aspirin in the future!

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