Once again, the official guidelines regarding the preemptive benefits of taking aspirin daily have been amended beneath the crosshair of a new study.
Just a few months back, researchers from Harvard motioned that there was very little to gain from this regimen unless you previously suffered a heart attack or stroke. The study’s co-author, Stephen Juraschek, MD, Ph.D., expounds with the following: “These findings are applicable to adults who do not have a history of cardiovascular disease or stroke. If you are currently taking aspirin, discuss it with your doctor to see if it is still needed for you.”
The thesis of the new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine doesn’t exactly repudiate the findings posited in the literature that proceeded it, but merely lengthens the very specific subset of people that would actually enjoy meaningful benefits of a daily regimen of low dose aspirin. Plainly stated? Roughly 2.5% of women would stand to gain, and about 12% of men, over the course of five years.
The New Zealand researchers began with a study group comprised of 245, 000 participants-all of which were in tip-top cardiovascular health.
“In our study, we were able to predict for each individual, by taking into account their personal characteristics, their propensity to benefit from or be harmed by aspirin,” explained lead researcher Vanessa Selak to HealthDay, who is also an epidemiologist with the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “Using this personalized approach enabled us to identify specific individuals who were likely to benefit from aspirin after weighing up aspirin’s effects on both cardiovascular events and serious bleeding.”
This particular aspect of the study directly contradicts the guidelines established back in June by the American Heart Association and The American College of Cardiology. Whatever minuscule heart health benefit that might be rewarded to an otherwise healthy individual is certainly eclipsed by the increased risk for bleeding. What this ultimately means, is that there is a relatively small minority that should seriously consider daily aspirin therapy. If you have experienced a stroke or a heart attack, business as usual, if not you increase your risk of dangerous bleeding by 45%-wager that against an 11% boosts to heart health.
“This research suggests that decisions regarding the use of aspirin among people who have not already had a cardiovascular event should be made after undertaking a personalized prediction of cardiovascular benefits and bleeding harms from aspirin,” Selak concludes.