If you’ve been popping an aspirin a day on doctor’s orders, here’s a new order: Don’t stop. A new study shows that patients with a history of heart disease who drop their aspirin-a-day regimen increase their risk of a heart attack by as much as 60 percent.
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“This study highlights the importance of staying on aspirin,” says Ben Barzilai, MD, Head of the Section of Clinical Cardiology. “Too often patients who are feeling well want to stop their aspirin. This can be a big mistake.”
U.S. News & World Reports notes that more than half of adults over the age of 65 take aspirin daily.
What’s so great about aspirin anyway? Well, according to the experts at Cleveland Clinic, aspirin inhibits blood clots, and blood clots can clog the arteries leading to the heart, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Research demonstrates that regular aspirin is strongly associated with a reduction of death from all causes. This is particularly true among older people, those with heart disease or a history of stroke, and people diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
“Cardiac patients should check with their doctors before stopping their aspirin even for a short period of time,” says Dr. Barzilai.
Take an Asprin (Baby)
People with a history of heart disease who are advised by their doctors to take aspirin are usually advised to have between 80 and 160 mg per day
. That’s about half a regular aspirin tablet. Many people find a “baby” aspirin (81 mg) perfect for their daily dose. Talk to your doctor, of course, before beginniing a daily aspirin regimen.