New heart health guidelines have been issued jointly by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA).  They agree that for older adults with no historyof heart attack, cardiac surgeries or stroke- the risk of bleeding that comes from daily aspirin dosage outweighs the heart benefit.  The two associations encourage doctors to be more selective in proscribing daily aspirin consumption. 

   We have known for a long time that patients on aspirin face the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.  Even a low dose baby aspirin over time can contribute to this.  The joint statement was made to show that people of any age with no prior health issues may be better off avoiding a daily aspirin regiment.  It is more important to maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise and healthy food than to rely on a pill historically used for pain.  The blood thinning properties of daily aspirin may still overall be beneficial to people with a history of heart issues and may also help people dealing with blood clot issues.  

   The AHA and ACC stressed that daily aspirin has an important role to play for people at high risk. For people with a prior history of heart attack, stroke or cardiac procedures such as stenting or open heart surgery daily use of blood-thinners “can be life saving” the groups said.  People who have have trouble lowering their cholesterol or blood sugar might also be considered for daily low-dose aspirin, as long as their risk for bleeding doesn’t outweigh any potential benefit, the guidelines say.

   For anyone at low to average risk of heart disease, a healthy lifestyle is by far the best path to living a long, healthy life.

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