It’s no apple, but individuals without a previous record of heart disease may want to think twice before taking an aspirin a day to keep their doctors away.
Recently published guidelines from the American College of Cardiology are informing adults of the newly generated recommendations for aspirin use, suggesting users to only take aspirins if advised by their physician.
Acting as a popular, preemptive method to avoid heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular related issues, the new guidelines are speaking to those who have no history of heart issues. The studies behind the guidelines showed potential signs of harm rather than help, with the benefits of low-dose aspirin offset by negative side effects such as internal bleeding.
“We have to weigh the benefit to risk ratio”, says Larry Dean, MD, Director of the Regional Heart Center. Dr. Dean sat down with UW Newsroom to discuss the new guidelines and help patients interpret the lengthy publication. “Depending on what your risk is, aspirin can be used to mitigate the risk of stroke in patients who have [specific] problems”, in which patients should continue to take aspirin if their provider has prescribed them to. The real risk is for those without any previous heart related issues, in which individuals should start a conversation with their health care provider to see if aspirin is necessary.
Though, we do need to remember the guidelines are just that. They are guidelines, not absolutes. Dr. Dean wants patients to talk with their physicians and spark a conversation when needed. Aspirin is only a small piece of the conversation. “We all need to be more active”, says Dr. Dean. Factors such as exercise, diet, and weight are all aspects that should require attention and we should strive to truly understand them to better take care of ourselves.
To listen in on the soundbite with Dr. Dean, check out the full video on UW Medicine’s YouTube channel.