Millions of people pop an aspirin every day, believing it can help prevent a heart attack down the road. However, new research says that if you have one of many common pre-existing health issues, taking that daily aspirin could end up doing you more harm than good.
In a recent study, published in ESC Heart Failure, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology, scientists analyzed data from 30,827 Western European and American participants. The subjects, who had an average age of 67, were participants in the HOMAGE Study and were determined to be at an elevated risk of developing heart failure. A number of factors merited inclusion on the “at risk” list, including smoking, having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
After running several analyses, researchers concluded that there was a 26 percent increased risk of heart failure in daily aspirin-takers who had one of those pre-existing “at risk” factors.
Should you take a daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack?
“This was the first large study to investigate the relationship between aspirin use and incident heart failure in individuals with and without heart disease and at least one risk factor,” explained study author Blerim Mujaj, MD, PhD, of the University of Freiburg in Germany. “Aspirin is commonly used — in our study one in four participants were taking the medication. In this population, aspirin use was associated with incident heart failure, independent of other risk factors.”
What steps can you take based on this research? If you are obese, a smoker, have diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or heart disease, it’s worth having a chat with your doctor about whether a daily aspirin regimen is the best course of action. There may be other options available that make more sense for you, but you’ll never know unless you speak up. When it comes to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry!