For years, middle-aged and older Americans have been told that a low dose of aspirin could prevent a heart attack or a stroke. New guidance indicates the practice could do more harm than good.
A blood thinner, aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes by preventing clots from forming in the blood vessels leading to the heart or brain.
Although aspirin could prevent blood clots it could also cause severe, even fatal, bleeding. Older people are especially at risk for this side effect, said Chien-Wen Tseng, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Hawai’i John A. Burns School of Medicine.
“Our message…is if you don't have a history of heart attack and stroke, you shouldn't be starting on aspirin just because you reach a certain age,” said Tseng, a member of the U.S. Preventive S