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Aspirin to prevent heart attacks, strokes no longer recommended: AHA

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A 2018 clinical study found a daily low-dose aspirin had no effect on prolonging life in healthy, elderly people.
USA TODAY

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.

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. 

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

“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.”

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

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