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Bye-Bye Baby Aspirin

Bye-Bye Baby Aspirin

Daily low-dose or baby aspirin has been known to decrease the chance of having a heart attack or stroke since the 1970s. Though our parents and grandparents may have sworn by it, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced recently that people over the age of 60 should not be taking aspirin daily.

Aspirin is most popular as a pain reliever, but it is also a blood thinner that can reduce the chance of blood clots. However, recent evidence suggests that taking aspirin daily could cause life-threatening side effects that increase with age, including stomach ulcers, severe liver damage or liver disease, and bleeding in the stomach, intestine, and brain.

People who are 40 to 59 years old and are already at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease stand to benefit the most from a daily dose of aspirin. This includes those who have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or who are overweight, smokers or sedentary. If you fall in this category, talk your physician about the benefits of adding aspirin to your wellness routine. After 60, the risk of bleeding cancels the benefits of preventing heart disease for those who are on a daily aspirin regimen.

Women should particularly be wary of aspirin. Researchers have found that a daily aspirin regimen didn’t reduce the risk of heart attacks in women under the age of 65 who had no history or risk of heart disease. Instead, it increased the risk of bleeding in the brain or hemorrhagic stroke by 43%.

It is important to note that just because aspirin is over-the-counter does not mean it is necessarily safe for you or come with serious risk. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of aspirin therapy before you begin. Your doctor will determine the appropriate dosage for you, if recommended. If you’re already taking aspirin because you have had a stroke or heart attack, don’t stop taking it unless your doctor instructs you to.