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Task Force No Longer Recommends Taking Daily Aspirin For Heart Health

senior woman with distorted arthritis hand taking aspirin pills

Photo: Getty Images

The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force no longer recommends taking aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack. The advisory group, which is made up of some of the top doctors in the country, said that a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin does not help prevent a heart attack and, in some cases, can cause other issues, such as bleeding in the stomach and brain.

The task force said that people over 60 should not start taking aspirin every day if they are healthy.

"Based on current evidence, the task force recommends against people 60 and older starting to take aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke," Dr. Michael Barry, task force vice-chair, said in a press release.

For people between the ages of 40 and 59, they said the decision on whether to take aspirin should be made in consultation with a doctor based on specific circumstances and medical conditions.

"If you are really healthy, if you're a healthy 40-year-old with no major risk factors, you will do more harm than good with daily aspirin. Your risk of bleeding will exceed the benefits," Dr. Steven Nissen, chair of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the new guidelines, told CNN. "People need to understand that aspirin is not a completely benign or innocent therapy."

If you have previously had a heart attack or other cardiovascular conditions, taking aspirin could still be helpful in preventing a second heart attack or stroke.

"In secondary prevention, aspirin is important. If you have a stent if you've had a myocardial infarction or a stroke, for all of those people, aspirin works. It provides a modest but definite benefit," Nissen said.


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