Older Adults Taking Aspirin To Prevent Cardiovascular Disease May Actually Not Require It, Study Shows 

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A recent University of Michigan survey indicates that a significant portion of older adults aged 50 to 80 take aspirin regularly to prevent heart disease. However, the survey suggests that many of them may not actually require it, especially if they don’t have a history of cardiovascular issues.

Aspirin usage on the rise among elderly population

A survey by the University of Michigan among adults aged 50-80 found that 57% of regular aspirin users have no cardiovascular disease history. This contrasts with updated guidelines suggesting aspirin for those with cardiovascular history or high risk factors.

Around 14% of elderly individuals are using aspirin despite lacking any heart-related issues. While aspirin can be advantageous for certain individuals, it carries a bleeding risk, especially for older age groups. Guidelines caution against routine aspirin usage after age 70 and suggest reconsidering its use around age 75 for those without heart problems.

Furthermore, 31% of elderly aspirin users are unaware of the associated bleeding risks, highlighting a need for improved communication between healthcare providers and patients regarding aspirin’s benefits and risks. Notably, 71% of older adults who take aspirin began doing so at least four years ago, potentially relying on outdated advice.

Preventive aspirin use recommended for individuals at risk of heart disease

Dr. Jordan Schaefer, a hematologist at Michigan Medicine, highlights that aspirin is no longer universally recommended for all older adults as a preventive measure, contrary to previous beliefs. He emphasizes the need to align aspirin usage with current understanding, as revealed by a recent university poll.

Experts recommend considering various factors such as age, family history, health history, medications, test results, and lifestyle when deciding on preventive aspirin use. Guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association suggest low-dose aspirin may be considered for select adults aged 40 to 70 at increased cardiovascular disease risk but not at risk for bleeding. However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advises against starting aspirin for cardiovascular disease prevention in adults aged 60 and above, according to their updated 2022 guideline.

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