Study: Seniors Should Think Twice Before Reaching For The Aspirin Bottle

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Seniors should think twice before adding baby aspirin to their daily health regimens, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine website posted Sunday.

While research indicates that low-dose aspirin can help most people with high cardiovascular risk avoid a heart attack or stroke, the study found that daily aspirin had no benefits for otherwise healthy seniors and could even lead to serious bleeding.

“This gives pause and a reason for older people and their physician to think carefully about the decision whether to take low-dose aspirin regularly or not,” Dr. Evan Hadley of the National Institute on Aging told NPR. “And in many cases the right answer may be: Not.”

The National Institute on Aging is part of the National Institutes of Health, which helped fund the research. The study examined more than 19,000 people over the age of 65 in the U.S. and Australia. Roughly 56 percent of participants were women, roughly 9 percent were nonwhite and 11 percent “reported previous regular aspirin use,” according to the report.

Approximately 16,000 of the participants were in Australia, reported NPR.

Half of the participants took 100 milligrams of aspirin daily, while the other half took a placebo. Individuals were tracked for an average of nearly five years starting in 2010. (RELATED: State Medical Board Has A Simple Solution To Help Amid Physician Mental Health Crisis)

Baby aspirin has been touted as a way to reduce the risks of developing cancer or dementia, according to NPR. But now researchers say the data shows that the participants who took a daily aspirin were more likely to die of cancer, although that data point could be a “fluke.”

They were also more likely to have serious and even life-threatening stomach bleeds because of aspirin’s blood-thinning qualities, reported BBC.

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