You've probably heard for years that taking a daily aspirin may reduce the risk of heart attack and strokes. But now doctors say the side effects are not justified for people who do not already have heart disease, according to new guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
New materials discourage patients from taking aspirin without first talking to a doctor about an internal bleeding risk. Guidelines warn physicians against prescribing aspirin therapy only to high-risk patients who have difficulty controlling blood sugar or lowering cholesterol, CNN .
The reason is that aspirin therapy is now outdated, as doctors can better treat diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
"For the most part, we can treat risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and, above all, high cholesterol levels better," explained cardiologist Dr. med. Carolina Campbell of North Carolina, who was not involved in the new guidelines, CNN . "That makes the biggest difference, probably negating the previously perceived aspirin benefits in primary prevention."
According to recent studies, aspirin is wasting money on healthy elderly people and can even be dangerous: taking aspirin may make it more difficult to make blood clots and even bleeding in the stomach the Mayo Clinic. In addition, conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure along with certain medications, such as steroids or blood thinners, increase the risk of these side effects.
Instead, the guidelines emphasize the inclusion of better habits, such as avoiding fast food and smoking medications, said Donna Arnett, PhD, who helped write the guidelines.
"Healthy life with diet and exercise," she said, "is the main line of defense in the prevention of heart disease," she said in a statement.
Need help getting started? Take a look at our list of healthy foods and recommendations to help lower your blood pressure.