College of DuPage Nursing Student Randall J. Rooney wrote for Healthy Lombard that for years now, folks at risk of heart attack have been told to take low-dose aspirin daily for prevention of heart disease. Well, hold on to your hats because things are about to change.
As reported by NY Times1 on March 18th, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) changed their recommendations for aspirin regimens. In their 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease 2, published March 17, the ACC states:
Aspirin should be used infrequently in the routine primary prevention of ASCVD because of lack of net benefit.
“Lack of net benefit?!”, you might say, “But aren’t I taking my baby aspirin because there IS a benefit??”.
For years doctors have recommended daily low-dose aspirin (100 mg or less) for primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in patients aged 70 years and up. ASCVD, in a nutshell, is the buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries, which chokes off the blood supply to vital organs like your brain, kidneys, and heart, which places you at risk of things like heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
Now, aspirin regimens have been recommended for years to prevent the buildup of these arterial plaques because aspirin has the very neat property of making stuff in your blood ‘slippery’. Aspirin is known to prevent blood platelets from aggregating, which is good if you’re at risk of clots (and bad if you’re at risk of bleeding). The same mechanism that prevents platelets from sticking to each other is believed to work on fats in your blood. By making the lipids in your blood more slippery, aspirin prevents them from sticking together and forming plaques on the walls of your arteries. And it does this for a bargain. Aspirin is much cheaper, available over the counter, and has fewer side effects and risks than prescription blood thinners. Read more