People without a history of cardiovascular disease (such as heart attack or stroke) are unlikely to benefit from a regular dose of aspirin, given the associated risk of internal bleeding. This is the finding of the largest study to date into the effects of aspirin in people without established cardiovascular conditions.
Aspirin reduces the risk of clots forming in blood vessels and thereby protects against heart disease and stroke. It is widely used to prevent a repeat heart attack or stroke among people who have already suffered from one of these conditions, known in the medical field as secondary prevention.
Many medical experts have also prescribed regular aspirin as a primary prevention technique – a precaution among people without a previous history of heart attack or stroke, but who may be considered at increased risk of these conditions in the future due to the presence of risk factors for heart attacks or strokes.
Dr Sharlin Ahmed, Research Liaison Officer at The Stroke Association says, “People who have been specifically told to take aspirin following a cardio-vascular event such as a stroke or heart attack should continue to do so.
“Aspirin is a blood thinning drug that is very important for people that have had a stroke caused by a clot.
“Equally, people who think that taking aspirin on a regular basis as a precaution without advice from their doctor should be aware of the potential harm they could be causing themselves, as thinning the blood can be extremely dangerous to anyone that has any minor internal bleeds. We urge anyone with concerns to speak to their GP”.
The Stroke Association