A recent study has found that for people without a history of vascular problems, daily aspirin may be causing more harm than good. For the Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis (AAA) study, led by Professor Gerry Fowkes at the Wolfson Unit for Prevention of Peripheral Vascular Diseases in Scotland, researchers followed 3,350 men and women ages 50 to 75 years of age who had no history of heart attack or symptoms of heart disease, but may have had issues with the arteries in their legs.
Each of the participants were given either a 100 mg dose of aspirin each day or a placebo, which is a fake pill that has no pharmacological effect. Researchers monitored the men and women for eight years and found that there was no significant difference in the number of heart attacks, strokes, or other heart-related problems between the two groups. However, 2 percent of the group taking daily aspirin experienced major bleeding, while only 1.2 percent of the placebo group had major bleeding.
The findings of the study, which was presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress last Sunday, support previous suggestions that a daily aspirin regimen for patients with no symptoms or history of heart or artery disease may be more risky and less beneficial. Still, for patients with a history of vascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke or angina, a daily dose of aspirin may help reduce the risk of clots and prevent future problems.
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