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Regular use of low dose aspirin may be harmful


New research shows that low dose aspirin or “baby” aspirin may do more harm than good. [/caption]

Just like anything else in life, sometimes a fresh look at an old subject is necessary. When we look at things we have always done with the advantage of new and improved data, changes may occur.

For forever and a day, thousands of people have been taking a baby aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Countless baby aspirin have been consumed in the name of living longer and good health. Well, a fresh look at this with the added advantage of new data has recently occurred and guess what? The new data drives new recommendations.

Now, if you have a history of heart disease or have a very strong family history of heart disease, hold on. Individuals with such a family health history should be sure to take an assessment to quantify what their risks are.

The fact is that it is not a bad idea for everyone to take a risk assessment. There are a host of assessments you can take. For example, there is the ACC/AHA Cardiovascular Risk Calculator. It can be found online and may help answer questions that help you get an idea of your cardiovascular risk. Here people with a greater than 10 percent ten-year cardiovascular risk are of concern. This evaluation is just a starting place. Of course, you should review this with your health care provider and together see if you are at increased risk for cardiovascular problems and determine the proper steps to take to maintain your health.

The new deep dive by researchers into patients taking low dose aspirin examines whether the risks attributed to the medication actually outweigh the benefits in certain populations.

New data has shown that taking aspirin daily can increase the chances of possible gastrointestinal bleeding in some people, and intracranial bleeding in others. Either of these events can cause harm and even death.

We know with greater age there is a greater possibility of bleeding in patients who are on an aspirin regimen. Remember, we stopped prescribing most arthritis medications at age 70. Aspirin and arthritis medications are close cousins.

Here’s the bottom line. Gone are the days of just taking a baby aspirin as a way of taking better care of yourself. You could actually be harming yourself. Talk to your health care provider and see what is best for you.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at