Don't take an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks and strokes: Doctors reverse recommendation

Taking an low-dose aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke is no longer recommended for most older adults, according to guidelines released Sunday.

After doctors said for decades that a daily 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin could prevent cardiovascular problems, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association just reversed that idea.

This change comes after a large clinical trial found a daily low-dose aspirin had no effect on prolonging life in healthy, elderly people, and actually suggested the pills could be linked to major hemorrhages.

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Sunday's recommendations say low-dose aspirin should not be given to prevent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease on a routine basis to adults older than 70 or any adult at an increased risk of bleeding.

"Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease," Roger Blumenthal, co-chair of the new guidelines said in a statement. "It's much more important to optimize lifestyle habits and control blood pressure and cholesterol as opposed to recommending aspirin."

More: Low-dose aspirin has no effect, causes harm in some older people, study says

Only select people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease and low risk of bleeding might continue using the pain killer as a preventative, as told by their doctor, Blumenthal said.

The ACC and AHA say regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco and eating a diet rich in vegetables and low in sugar and trans fats are among the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Don't take an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks and strokes: Doctors reverse recommendation


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