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An Aspirin a Day May Push Death Away, Says New Study

by on April 14, 2016
 

A new study by the United States Preventive Services Task Force has recommend­ed that taking an aspirin a day might help prevent cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.

The task force found that people from the ages of 50 to 59 who have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease can lower their risk for heart attacks, stroke and colon cancer by taking an aspirin a day.

They group also found that peo­ple from the ages 60 to 69 can ben­efit as well, but should discuss the treatment with their health care provider first. The researchers, how­ever, concluded there is not enough evidence to determine the benefits and harms of aspirin use in people younger than 50 or older than 69.

The Medical Division Chief at the Center for Advanced Heart Fail­ure at Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute-Texas Medi­cal Center, Dr. Biswajit Kar, said that the new findings from the task force provided a good evidence-based ap­proach for managing a disease with therapy that has risks.

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According to him: “Low-dose aspirin therapy has many prov­en benefits, including preventing heart attacks, strokes, and colorec­tal cancer.”

This would be the first time the task force has issued a recommen­dation on aspirin to prevent both cardiovascular disease and colon cancer for those age ranges.

However, the former task force chairman, Dr. Michael LeFevre, noted that there has been a sig­nificant empirical evidences that prompted the outcome of this rec­ommendation since their last state­ment in 2009.

“What’s new is our recommen­dation that incorporates reduction of colon cancer. We combined the potential benefits for cancer with the potential benefits for cardio­vascular disease. That’s new and I don’t think it is either widely known or certainly not widely incorporated into a decision that balances bene­fits and harms,” he said.

LeFevre further pointed out that in 2009, there were concerns that men and women were differ­ent in terms of their aspirin bene­fit profile, stating, “with the advance of science, we have decided that is not the case. The new recommenda­tion applies to both men and wom­en equally.”

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The recommendation, accord­ing to him, applies to people who are not at an increased risk for gas­trointestinal bleeding, who have at least a 10-year life expectancy, and who are willing to take low-dose as­pirin daily for at least 10 years. It is also based on recent reviews that re­affirmed previous evidence about the benefits of aspirin for preven­tion of heart attack, stroke and co­lon cancer, the study stated.

Meanwhile, there has been much disagreement on the benefits of daily aspirin use. A 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who used a daily low dose of aspirin were less likely to have colon cancer. But another study that same year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who were taking aspirin for preventive measures were at an increased risk for serious health problems, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.

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LeFevre stated that there was about a 60 per cent increase in seri­ous gastrointestinal bleeds in peo­ple who took aspirin regularly in this study, but however noted that the benefit outweighs the risk.

“The deal with aspirin is we know we can help some people, and we also know we can hurt some peo­ple. We are moderately certain that the benefits outweigh the harms for men and women ages 50 to 59 who have a 10-year cardiovascular risk of 10 per cent or greater. That is the group we are most confident about,” LeFevre said.

He also said men and wom­en ages 60 to 69 with a 10 per cent greater risk of cardiovascular dis­ease will have benefits that out­weigh the harms, but only by a small amount.

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