Diabetics and the New Aspirin Advice: There have been numerous reports and studies that have recommended low dose aspirin for those over the age of 40. New data finds at least three major health organizations revising their recommendations in some pretty significant ways. One of the organizations is the American Diabetes Association.
HealthDay recently reported, “According to a joint statement by the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology, only male diabetics over 50 and female diabetics over 60 who are at risk for a heart attack or stroke should be taking aspirin as a preventive.”
Dr. M. Sue Kirkman, senior vice president for medical affairs and community information at the ADA was quoted by HealthDay, “Previously, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommended aspirin to prevent heart attacks and stroke in most people with diabetes over the age of 40. However, more recent studies suggest that the benefits of aspirin are modest, and that aspirin likely would be best for people at very high risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Kirkman also said those at risk include, “Adults with diabetes at increased risk include most men over age 50, and women over age 60, who have one or more of the following additional major risk factors: smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol or a family history of premature cardiovascular diseases.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said, “People with diabetes are at three times the increased risk of cardiovascular events compared with people without diabetes. Among diabetics over 65, it’s estimated that 68 percent will die from heart disease and 16 percent from stroke.”
The long-term use of aspirin can lead to bleeding in the stomach and brain making it a little less advisable to use the product on a regular basis at the age of 40. In other words where once low dose aspirin was thought to be a perfect companion to good health it now appears it should be taken only in specific circumstances and perhaps on the advise of a primary care physician.
Dr. Michael Pignone, chief of the general medicine division and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina adds a slightly different wrinkle to the story; “Taking low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease is reasonable for adults with diabetes who are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and not at increased risk for bleeding.” This is one of the very specific circumstances discussed in the last paragraph.
Pignone also said, “People with diabetes should talk to their physicians about their cardiovascular risk and what they should be doing to try to reduce it to a manageable level. This includes the decision about aspirin, but also blood pressure control, [cholesterol-lowering] statins, and smoking cessation.”
Due to the complexity of the needs of diabetics all factors should be considered. Kirkman advised, “For those at relatively low risk, the risks of aspirin probably outweigh the potential benefits. For those at high risk, aspirin should be encouraged. The strong recommendation to use aspirin in patients with a history of cardiovascular events still stands.”
While the experts still feel there is ample reason to invite diabetic patients to use aspirin there seems to be increasing factors that must be considered. This is in the patient’s best interest and is an ultimate determinate of better core health prospects. No one is saying that aspirin is bad, simply that the use of aspirin needs to be filtered through personal health objectives and risk factors known to your doctor.