A new study just found that taking aspirin doesn't necessarily help healthy older people — here's what you need to know

  • A new study found that daily low-dose aspirin use does not increase health and lifespan in relatively healthy elderly people over the age of 70.
  • It also didn’t seem to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in these individuals.
  • This study serves as a contradiction to previous belief that aspirin can decrease risk of death and risk of developing cardiovascular conditions.

Several years ago, many physicians floated the idea of using a regimen of low-dose daily aspirin to prevent cardiovascular diseases in the elderly.

This was informed by the fact that aspirin is known and proven to help people prevent a second heart attack and stroke.

But a NIH-funded study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week found that the use of low-dose aspirin as a primary prevention strategy in older adults did not significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease than placebo. It was also found to increase risk of major hemorrhage or bleeding.

The study ran for four years and enrolled 19,114 people over the age of 70 with no indications of dementia, physical disabilities, or medical conditions that required the use of aspirin.

The study found that treatment with 100 mg of low-dose aspirin per day did not significantly impact the health and lifespans of these individuals. In fact, the group taking aspirin had an slightly elevated risk of death compared to the placebo group (5.9% vs 5.3%). The regimen also did not lower the rate of cancer-related death, counter to previous beliefs.

Aspirin is a blood-thinner, and it works by interfering with the function of platelets, which play an important role in clotting. Blood clots can form when an artery is narrowed by cholesterol. When blood flow to the heart is cut out, it can lead to a heart attack. Aspirin, by reducing the clumping action in the blood, can lower the risks of these deadly clots.

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