Task force proposes updated guidance for daily aspirin

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The U.S. Preventative Task Force has proposed several changes to its guidance on taking daily aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke, according to a draft statement published earlier this week.

The proposed updated guidance recommends adults ages 40 to 59 years old only take aspirin as a preventative measure if their primary care physician determines they are at a higher risk for heart disease. Additionally, the guidance states adults ages 60 years or older should not start taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks or strokes.

Previous guidance recommended daily aspirin for adults over 50 years old who were at a higher risk for heart attacks or strokes in the next decade and who weren’t at a higher risk for bleeding. The new guidance not only includes a younger age demographic but suggests older adults should not use aspirin preventatively.

The task force said the guidance does not apply to patients who have already had a heart attack or stroke. They said these patients should still take aspirin preventatively.

Preventative aspirin remains a controversial subject in the integrative medical community. Some criticize the lack of incorporating other dietary and lifestyle measures that are known to improve heart health. Others suggest regular intake is harmful to patient health altogether.

The draft statement is open for public comment on the agency’s website.