Don't take an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks and strokes: Doctors reverse recommendation

Taking a low-dose aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke is no longer recommended for most older adults, according to guidelines released Sunday. 

After doctors said for decades that a daily 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin could prevent cardiovascular problems, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association reversed that idea. 

large clinical trial found a daily low-dose aspirin had no effect on prolonging life in healthy, elderly people and actually suggested the pills could be linked to major hemorrhages.

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Sunday's recommendations say low-dose aspirin should not be given to prevent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease on a routine basis to adults older than 70 or any adult at an increased risk of bleeding. 

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“Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease,” cardiologist Roger Blumenthal said in a statement. "It’s much more important to optimize lifestyle habits and control blood pressure and cholesterol as opposed to recommending aspirin."

More: Low-dose aspirin has no effect, causes harm in some older people, study says

Only select people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease and low risk of bleeding might continue using the painkiller as a preventive measure, as told by their doctor, Blumenthal said. 

The ACC and AHA say regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco and eating a diet rich in vegetables and low in sugar and trans fats are among the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease. 

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Don't take an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks and strokes: Doctors reverse recommendation

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