Benefits of Daily Baby Aspirin Worth It?
By Diane Carbo
The theory that everyone over 50 years of age should take an aspirin a day to lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke is being debated. Research has found that the risk of taking aspirin do not outweigh the benefits in some individuals. The decision to be on a daily aspirin regime should be something that every individual should discuss with a health care provider and determine if the risks outweigh the benefits.
Why Baby Aspirin?
When bleeding occurs, the platelets cells are responsible for making the blood clot. The platelets clump together that closes the blood vessel to stop the bleeding and protect the body from outside infection. Aspirin has long been recommended because it interferes with the blood’s ability to clot. Typically recommending a daily aspirin is a cost effective and preventative measure for heart attacks or strokes.
During a heart attack or stroke, the blood vessels in the body narrow and become blocked by fatty deposits in the arteries. These arteries may burst at any time. A blood clot can form at any time and block the artery. This blockage prevents blood flow to the area of the heart or brain, causing damage to the area, known as a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin therapy prevents the platelets from sticking together and, therefore, preventing the possibility of a heart attack or stroke.
Does Baby Aspirin Really Decrease the Risk?
It has been found that many things affect how daily aspirin therapy impacts different individuals. Aspirin has a different affect between men and women but it is not known exactly why. Aspirin therapy has been found to be beneficial in men of all ages in preventing and reducing the risk of heart disease. For women over 65 years of age, daily aspirin therapy has been shown to prevent the first heart attack and decrease the risk of heart disease. Both sexes have an equal risk of bleeding with daily aspirin therapy.
New Research Disagrees
In 2004, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel strongly opposed the idea of recommending using aspirin therapy for primary heart disease prevention. In a study that was recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine January, 2012 researchers in London, England showed that daily aspirin therapy is not beneficial for everyone and the risks may be far greater for some than the benefits.
This was an analysis of daily aspirin therapy usage of over 100, 000 people from three different countries and nine randomized studies. None of the participants had a history of heart attack or a stroke. The subjects took a daily aspirin or a placebo. The goal of the study was to determine if there were benefits to daily aspirin therapy in individuals with no history of heart disease.
The study found that the participants of the study that took the daily aspirin therapy reduced the chances of having any type of heart event by 10 percent; chances of having a non-fatal heart attack by 20 percent.
The study also found that 30 percent of the individuals on a daily aspirin regime were more likely to experience a gastrointestinal bleeding event. The study found that for every 160 participants that took the daily aspirin therapy, one nonfatal heart attack was prevented. This same group of individuals experienced a serious side effect of aspirin, a gastrointestinal bleed.
Assisted living communities help seniors take the right dosage of medication that is prescribed to them at the right time. By having a trained staff member manage and administer medications, the chances of an incorrect dose or not taking the medication decreases.
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Diane Carbo is a registered nurse with over 37 years experience. She has worked in a hospital setting as a Charge Nurse and other settings including orthopedics/rehabilitation, home care, discharge planning, case management, oncology, hospice, senior behavioral health, assisted living, and long term care.