PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Many adults take low-dose aspirin daily as a blood thinner to prevent heart attacks as a preventative measure, but longstanding guidance for adults with no history of a heart attack is changing.
“A heart attack starts, or a stroke starts with clots starting to build up inside a blood vessel. That’s where the benefit comes in,” said Cardiologist Dr. Darrel Gumm, VP cardiovascular service line at OSF HealthCare.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine, released a draft statement recommending against starting an aspirin regimen for adults 60 and older Tuesday. Adults 40 to 59 should consult with a doctor whether to start an aspirin regimen.
Dr. Gumm said for patients who haven’t experience a heart attack, “there is little benefit and there’s only risk.”
“Patients who have had a heart attack are clearly going to benefit from being on the low dose aspirin. That’s what’s called secondary prevention,” he said, adding the recommended dosage is 81mg, often referred to as “baby aspirin.”
Dr. James Ausfahl, staff physician at UnityPoint Health, stressed adults should consult with their doctor about whether to start a low-dose aspirin regimen.
“You need to talk to your primary doctor who knows you,” he said. “A lot of medicine needs individualized. One size fits all doesn’t work a whole lot better in medicine, than it does in gloves or clothes, and sometimes you need to retailor it.”
The proposed guidelines would not apply to those already taking aspirin or those who have already had a heart attack.
The Task Force is seeking public input on the issue through November 8.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC.