Is Your Aspirin Regimen Doing More Harm Than Good?
How often have you heard that an aspirin a day is an excellent way to help prevent heart attack and stroke? Maybe you have been instructed to take a daily dose of aspirin. As it turns out, not everyone is suited to an aspirin a day, especially older adults. In fact, popping this pill regularly could cause serious harm.
The Risks of Daily Aspirin for Older Adults
In a new trio of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there is no significant benefit for healthy older adults to take a daily low dose of aspirin, but it could cause other serious health problems, including:
- More bleeding: Participants in the first study had an average age of 74 and were considered healthy at the time of enrollment. Half the participants received 100 milligrams of aspirin every day (a low-dose has 81 milligrams) and the other half a placebo. After five years, there was a higher rate of bleeding in the group that took aspirin, compared to the placebo group.
- Likelihood of hemorrhaging: The second study found that there was a significantly higher risk of “major hemorrhage” with aspirin than the placebo, particularly involving upper gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding.
- Higher cancer-related mortality rate: The third study found a “higher all-cause mortality” among healthy older adults who took a daily aspirin, most of which were attributed to cancer-related death. This was an unexpected result when compared with previous studies.
These studies support a 2015 Dutch study in which 28,000 women with an average age of 55 were followed over 15 years. Those on a low-dose aspirin regimen were three times more likely to make a visit to the emergency room with serious bleeding than to go there with a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin-takers were also six times more likely to suffer bleeding than prevent colon cancer. Read Dr. Lewerenz’s newsletter from 2015.
In short, millions of people on a daily low-dose aspirin regimen are being told it’s preventing heart attack and stroke. However, aspirin use in millions of Americans may be doing more harm than good. A more natural approach to heart disease and colon cancer may be safer and more effective.
The Personalized Approach to Warding Off Heart Disease and Cancer
Patients with a history of cardiovascular disease or colorectal cancer who take a daily aspirin can reap benefits that outweigh the risks of taking aspirin. However, healthy older adults may be told that medication is the best and only preventive measure against health problems. Just because you’ve reached senior or elderly status, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to change your lifestyle to make you healthier and live longer.
Maybe low-dose aspirin is right for you? Perhaps there is a better way to take it, whether on an empty stomach, with a warm glass of water, or relying on the coated version. What’s important is to follow the medical route that is most beneficial for you.
Dr. James Lewerenz is a board-certified general physician in family medicine who is focused on each individual patient. Personalized attention, customized care – this is what good healthcare is all about. At the Longevity Health Institute, you are an individual, and your overall health history, cardiovascular risks, cancer risks, and bleeding history are all evaluated to determine the methods of preventive health care that are best for you. Watch Dr. Lewerenz speak more about the risks and benefits of a daily low-dose aspirin regimen. Then, make an appointment to discuss your unique health needs and concerns. Get cutting-edge, evidence-based healthcare care that is prescribed for you alone.