An Aspirin a Day Will Not Keep the Doctor Away

The adverse effects of following this advice outweigh any potential benefits

Many years ago, it was found that aspirin makes the blood less sticky and therefore reduces the risk of blood clots. Several studies confirmed that this reduced the risk of stroke or heart attack and some research even suggested that taking one aspirin per day could cut the risk of cancer. However, healthy people should not follow this recommendation because of potential health dangers the National Institute for Health Research (NHS) warned today.

The most recent NHS review concluded the dangers of bleeding in the stomach and brain produce a “fine balance” between detriment and benefit. Until there is more evidence, the NHS warns against taking the drug. Prof Aileen Clarke, who led the research at Warwick Medical School for the NHS suggests that healthy people should avoid aspirin.

“The risks are finely balanced and for now there is not the evidence to advise people to take it,” she said. “It would be lovely to say over-50s should take an aspirin a day and have much less cancer, but the research hasn’t yet been done and we should be cautious. We need to be extremely careful about over-promoting aspirin.”

British Heart Foundation’s senior cardiac nurse, Amy Thompson, also added, “Aspirin is extremely important for many heart patients, but for people free of heart disease the jury is still out as the risks are likely to outweigh the benefits.”

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Urban Health (http://www.urbanhealth.com.my/), launched in January 2005, is a monthly Health Magazine that caters to the health conscious readers in Malaysia. We have been a valuable source of health news as we bring health information to the increasingly health-conscious public.

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