Daily Aspirin Treatment not Necessary for Healthy Seniors
An Aspirin a Day Did not Keep the Doctor Away
While the benefits for aspirin therapy are known for being beneficial to people with coronary artery disease (CAD) to prevent heart attacks and strokes, no one knew whether aspirin therapy was also beneficial for healthy people who did not suffer from cardiovascular medical problems.
ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) Trial
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) issued a press report September 16, 2018, on the results of a large study that was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and was a large double-blind, international, randomized and placebo-controlled trial called ASPREE that began in 2010. The trial followed after 19,114 healthy seniors (16,703 from Australia and 2,422 from the United States), who were without a history of cardiovascular disease, dementia or physical disability, to determine if taking a low-dose 100 mg. aspirin daily could prolong life. People who were already taking aspirin therapy for various medical reasons were not accepted into the trial. The participants were age 70 or older, but Afro Americans and Hispanics from the US were taken in from the age of 65, as they have a higher rate for dementia and cardiovascular disease. The participants were followed for 4.7 years.
For those who took the aspirin treatment, 90.3% remained alive until the end of treatment without having developed dementia or chronic disability. Of those who took the placebo treatment, 90.5% remained alive without dementia or disability until the end of the trial.
Rates for Dementia, Disability and non-fatal Cardiovascular Events
The rates for those who became disabled or demented were about the same whether they took the aspirin treatment or a placebo. Also, the rates for cardiovascular events like fatal and non-fatal ischemic strokes, coronary heart disease and nonfatal heart attacks were 448 for those who took the aspirin treatment and 474 for those who took the placebo.
The results that were published September 16, 2018, in three papers in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that daily aspirin did not prolong the life span and did not lead to an independent healthy life without dementia or chronic disability.
Half of Deaths During the Study were from Cancer
While the risk of death from all causes will require further analysis and follow-up, nonetheless 50% of the deaths that occurred during the trial were from cancer. In fact, those that took aspirin daily had a higher death rate 5.9% than those who took the placebo 5.2% and these were mainly cancer deaths. This was somewhat surprising to the researchers, as previous research had suggested that taking aspirin on a daily basis could lower the risk for cancer. There was also a slight increase of new cancer cases among those that took aspirin.
Cardiovascular death from heart attacks and strokes accounted for 19% of the deaths, while death from major bleeding events was 5%.
Significant Increase in Bleeding for those on Aspirin Treatment
It is well known that aspirin reduces the risk for blood clots, but can also lead to bleeding in many people. Indeed the study showed that those on aspirin treatment had a significant increased risk for severe bleeding such as hemorrhagic brain strokes, bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal hemorrhages or other hemorrhages that led to hospitalization or transfusion. Serious bleeding happened to 361 (3.8%) of the people who took the aspirin and in 265 (2.7%) who took the placebo.
Cardiovascular Events and the Need for Rehabilitation
If you or your loved one have experienced a cardiovascular event like an ischemic stroke, a hemorrhagic stroke or a heart attack and are in need of excellent rehabilitation make sure to choose a facility that is well known for its skill in stroke and cardiac rehabilitation like the Ditmas Park Center for Rehabilitation and Care in Brooklyn, New York.
Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn, New York
The Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center in Brooklyn NY is a 5-star rehabilitation facility that is expertise in stroke rehabilitation, post cardiac surgery exercise, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, palliative care and more, plus great entertainment and integrated therapy programs that include music therapy and pet therapy.
Brooklyn Hospitals Near Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center
NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn (formerly named NYU Lutheran Medical Center)
The results of this trial show that daily aspirin treatment is not necessary for healthy seniors. However, the researchers say that seniors should follow the advice from their doctors about using aspirin on a daily basis. No one should take aspirin on a daily basis on their own, especially as it can cause severe internal bleeding.