PREVENTION – Several American experts announced on Tuesday that they were finally advising against taking aspirin to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack in people aged 60 and over. Younger people should discuss this with their doctor.
LCI editorial staff –
Reversal of recommendations for millions of Americans. A panel of experts said on Tuesday that taking aspirin daily to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke should no longer be recommended for people 60 years and older.
As for people aged 40 to 59, at risk but having no history of cardiovascular disease, they must individually make the decision to initiate this treatment after discussion with their doctor, they added.
Bleeding risks not to be taken lightly
Since 2016, experts from the US Preventive Services Task Force, whose recommendations are widely followed, have recommended aspirin for people in their 50s with an assessed risk of 10% of heart attack or stroke in the following ten years. They also believed that people in their 60s at risk could take this preventive treatment on the basis of an individual decision. Aspirin actually thins the blood, which prevents the formation of clots and reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.
But for several years, studies have questioned the American recommendations. On Tuesday, experts finally felt that these benefits were not enough to, in older people, offset the increased risk of bleeding, especially in the brain or intestines. “Using aspirin daily may help prevent heart attacks and strokes in some, but it can also cause serious adverse effects, such as internal bleeding.”Task Force member Dr John Wong said in a statement. “It is important that people between the ages of 40 and 59 who have no history of heart disease have a conversation with their doctor to decide together if starting aspirin is right for them.”, he added.
These new recommendations are not yet final, being first subject to a period of public debate until early November. They do not apply to people taking aspirin after having already suffered a stroke or heart attack, the statement said.
Almost a quarter of Americans over 40 took aspirin for prevention
Following this announcement, millions of people find themselves caught off guard, as the practice is so widespread in the country. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States. It is thus estimated that each year, approximately 600,000 Americans suffer from a first heart attack, and approximately 610,000 from a first stroke.
According to a 2017 study, 23.4% of adults aged 40 and over without cardiovascular disease took aspirin for prevention, of which 22.8% did so without a recommendation from a healthcare professional.
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