For years, many doctors have recommended that people in their 50s start taking low doses of aspirin daily to protect their heart health and, more recently, to prevent colon cancer. So it was a shock this week when an independent committee recommended curbing the use of aspirin.
But don’t throw away the aspirin bottle yet.
NS RecommendationComing from the US Preventive Medicine Commission, was specifically targeted at people who have not started taking aspirin daily. An independent committee of volunteer experts did not give advice to people who are already taking aspirin daily, and the news is that if your doctor prescribes it you should stop taking the drug It doesn’t necessarily mean that. Talk to your doctor first to discuss the risks and benefits.
A concern among cardiologists is that news coverage of aspirin recommendations is still confusing high-risk people who can clearly still benefit from the drug. Doctors should prescribe aspirin daily for “secondary prevention” as a way to reduce the risk of those who already have a heart attack or stroke, or who have undergone serious heart intervention such as stenting or bypass surgery. Is often.
Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, said he had already stopped recommending aspirin to prevent his first heart attack, but he still benefits from the drug. There are many people at high risk.
“The data are clear for secondary prevention,” said Dr. Topol.
So what should aspirin users and others who are worried about heart health do now? Here are answers to some common questions.
What are your concerns about the risks of aspirin?
Daily use of aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, but aspirin can also increase the risk of bleeding in the brain, stomach, and intestines. The absolute risk of a bleeding event is relatively low, but the risk increases with age.
For some people who are at very high risk of heart attack or stroke, the benefits of daily aspirin can far outweigh the risk of bleeding. Aspirin is no longer recommended for many others.
What should people who take aspirin every day do now?
Talk to your doctor before quitting aspirin. The Task Force guidance was intended only for those who have not started using Aspirin.
Many patients who are currently taking aspirin, especially those who already have a heart attack or other cardiovascular problems, may be advised to continue taking aspirin. As a result of the Task Force’s advice, your doctor may instruct you to stop using Aspirin, but the decision is based on your specific health risk.
What if I’m not taking aspirin and I’m worried about my heart risk?
For people aged 40-59, the Task Force suggested consulting a doctor about daily use of aspirin. Depending on your personal situation, your doctor may recommend that you start taking aspirin because the benefits to heart health outweigh the risks. However, for many, doctors will discourage daily use of aspirin based on Task Force guidelines. If you have a family history of heart disease or other risk factors, your doctor may prescribe a class of drugs called statins that reduce the risk of cholesterol and heart attack.
Guidance is clearer for people over the age of 60. The Task Force has made it clear that people in this age group should not start taking aspirin to prevent their first heart attack or stroke.
I recently had a heart attack and am currently taking aspirin daily. Has your advice changed?
No. The Task Force makes recommendations only for prevention and does not consider the issue of disease management in people who have already had a heart attack.
What did the panel say about aspirin and colon cancer?
In 2016, the Task Force advised people in their 50s at risk of heart disease to take low doses of aspirin to prevent both cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. However, this year’s Task Force considered additional research and determined that more evidence was needed to make definitive recommendations. Some patients at genetic risk for colon cancer may still be advised by their doctor to take aspirin.
Sophie M, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Health. Dr. Balzora said the new guidance can confuse and disappoint many patients who want to take aspirin to reduce their risk of colon cancer. The most important thing patients can do to reduce their risk of cancer is to follow guidelines for regular colon cancer screening, Dr. Barzola said.Last year, the Preventive Health Committee recommended that adults start screening for colorectal cancer on a regular basis. At the age of 45Instead of waiting until 50.
“I tell patients that there is still more they can do to reduce their risk besides aspirin,” said Dr. Barzola. “No smoking, an active lifestyle, alcohol restrictions, high fiber diets, avoidance of processed and lean meats, etc. This is something we have known for a long time. There is nothing else to focus on. There are also many. “
How long does the risk of bleeding continue if my doctor tells me to stop taking aspirin?
According to Dr. Topol, the risk of bleeding quickly disappears when you stop taking aspirin. “The effect of aspirin on platelets disappears within a week,” he said.
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