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New Perspective in Medicine on a Baby Aspirin a Day
For decades, the belief was that taking a baby aspirin daily would be effective in the prevention of a heart attack, and it has been. Originally it was just a benefit for men, until someone realized that the original study included only men. A subsequent study was conducted on both men and women and concluded that an aspirin a day was just as effective for women. Such a surprise! So for decades physicians have recommended that their patients, both men and women, take an 81 mg aspirin daily for heart attack prevention. The results showed a mild decrease in heart attacks.
In a more recent study conducted in cooperation between the United States and Australia, it was found that even though the aspirin did prevent heart attacks, it also was the culprit in deaths due to internal bleeding. In fact, the study concluded that more people died due to bleeding than from heart attacks.
So, the guideline has once again changed. If you have suffered a heart attack in the past, then, yes, you absolutely need to take the baby aspirin daily. However, if you have never experienced heart disease, then you are not required to take that tiny aspirin.
This change in philosophy clearly represents how medical research evolves. A good idea is adopted following rigorous testing. The results are then reviewed over time. If unexpected side effects develop, such as internal bleeding, then that original idea is modified. This is precisely what has happened with the aspirin recommendation.