Have you heard the popular advice to take a baby aspirin daily to manage heart disease and prevent strokes? If you're taking aspirin daily, please note the newest guideline.
Recent research suggests that the risk of hemorrhages may outweigh the benefits of aspirin among adults without known cardiovascular disease, overturning a long-standing recommendation and practice.
The new guidelines state that a low-dose aspirin (75–100 mg) should not be administered routinely as a preventive measure for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease to adults older than 70 years. Adults of any age at high risk of bleeding should not take the medication.
“Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease,” said Roger S. Blumenthal, MD, FACC, and cochair of the 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline, in a press statement. “Aspirin should be limited to people at the highest risk of cardiovascular disease and a very low risk of bleeding.”
ACC and AHA recommend engaging in regular exercise; maintaining a healthy weight; avoiding tobacco; and eating a healthier diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish and low in added sugars, red meats, and trans fats as the best means to prevent cardiovascular disease.
“It’s much more important to optimize lifestyle habits and control blood pressure and cholesterol as opposed to recommending aspirin,” Blumenthal said.
Still tackling heart disease?
A balanced, healthy diet is the first way you can improve your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats.
A Harvard study shows that older adults with high blood levels of Omega-3 acids have extended longevity by an average of more than two years. Omega-3's, commonly consumed from fish oils, can prevent reduce their mortality risk by 35%, according to a Harvard study. Higher levels of fish oils, especially DHA, can prevent overall mortality risk by 27%.
Omegas are available when consuming fish, but finding wild fish with high concentrations multiple times a week can be tricky. Supplementation from professional sources is always a safe bet.
Of course, if you have questions about how to take care of your heart, or get on track for your overall health, give our friendly pharmacists a call. As an independent pharmacy, we are able to make more time to give individualized care to our patients.
Aina Abell, assistant editor: https://www.pharmacist.com/article/new-guidelines-reverse-long-standing-recommendation-take-aspirin-heart-disease-and-stroke