Taking a low-dose aspirin every day has always been known to cut the chances of another heart attack, stroke or other heart problem in people who already have had one, but the risks don't outweigh the benefits for most other folks according to new guidelines.
Aspirin will still be recommended for those experiencing a heart attack or stroke, or at risk of recurrence, due to its ability to prevent blood clots.
According to the American College of Cardiology, only high-risk patients should take low-dose aspirin to prevent a cardiovascular event at the advice of their own physicians.
Doctors may consider aspirin for certain older high-risk patients, such as those who have trouble lowering their cholesterol or managing their blood sugars, as long as there is no increased risk for internal bleeding, the guidelines in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology say.
However, for anyone who has had a stroke, heart attack, open-heart surgery or stents inserted to open clogged arteries, aspirin can be life-saving.
Here is why. Sticky platelets contribute to heart attack and stroke - aspirin works by keeping platelets from sticking together.
The American Heart Association issued this statement to FOX31 saying, "It is recommended that aspirin should only rarely be used to help prevent heart attacks and stroke in people without known cardiovascular disease".
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The recommendation comes after a clinical study found a daily dose of aspirin had no effect on prolonging life in healthy people, but it could be linked to bleeding. "For people who haven't had heart attacks that that risk of bleeding is probably more than the risk of saving you from having a heart attack".
The new guideline walks that back, saying that taking daily aspirin for this objective would do more harm than good in all adults over the age of 70 and all adults who have an increased risk of bleeding.
Engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and focusing diets on "vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, lean vegetable or animal protein, and fish", were included in the new guidelines as important lifestyle choices for reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.
"Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease", Roger S. Blumenthal, MD, co-chair of the 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease said.
Along with those dietary changes, people should exercise at least exercise moderately for at least 150 minutes a week.
"Statins should be commonly recommended with lifestyle changes to prevent cardiovascular disease among people with elevated low density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol levels at or above 190 mg/dl", the two groups explained in the statement.