Monday, 20 October 2008

Daily aspirin best for people with a stroke or heart disease

my conclusion earlier here was that risks of daily taking Aspirin outweighed the benefits. This study seems to confirm this.

via BPA

A study in British Medical Journal suggests that

taking low-dose daily aspirin may not be helpful for avoiding heart attacks or strokes in healthy people. And, because the drug may cause stomach problems (including bleeding), it should only be taken every day by people who have already had a stroke or who have heart disease.

It is well known that taking low-dose aspirin every day helps to reduce the risks of further strokes or heart attacks in people who have had a stroke or who have heart disease. This is due to the blood thinning effect of aspirin which helps to stop blood clots forming in the blood. For this reason, many people with high blood pressure and people with diabetes take aspirin as a way of lowering their risk of future health problems.

But, the results of this study suggest that daily low dose aspirin should only be taken by people at particular risk of blood clotting problems. The British study looked at more than 1,200 people aged 40 or over with diabetes (because they are at a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes). It found that taking aspirin had no extra benefit in preventing first strokes or heart attacks than taking a dummy pill (placebo).

However, previous studies have suggested that taking aspirin may cut the risk of having a stroke or heart attack by a third.

Because aspirin does not help to lower blood pressure, the latest findings suggest that taking low-dose aspirin will have no beneficial effects for people with high blood pressure alone. Aspirin may also cause unwanted side-effects, such as bleeding in the stomach, so you should not take aspirin regularly unless your GP has said that it is right for you.

If your doctor has asked you take aspirin, then you should not stop taking it without speaking to them first. Your GP will have taken the side-effects into account when first deciding if aspirin would be helpful for you.

If your doctor has not asked you take low-dose aspirin but you think you should, seek your GP's advice before starting.

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