(WGN Radio) – A study of 19,000 people has doctors taking a closer look at aspirin.
The study, published last month in Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at a huge group of people 65 and older. Half were given 100 mg of aspirin daily, while the other half were given a placebo.
The study found the group taking low-dose aspirin were 25% more likely to be anemic, explained Dr. Kevin Most, Chief Medical Officer at Northwestern Medicine’s Central DuPage Hospital.
Anemia describes a condition where the body didn’t have enough healthy blood cells to carry oxygen throughout their bodies properly.
“So we’re really starting to look again at aspirin being in the scrutiny now,” Dr. Most said in a recent interview with WGN Radio. “We need to understand the risk and reward of, OK, it’s going to prevent a stroke, it’s going to prevent a heart attack potentially, but now it’s also going to cause anemia. So we need to make sure we balance that to make sure the right people are taking it.”
Because aspirin is associated with an increased risk for bleeding, including stomach bleeding or aneurysms, doctors have already moved away from recommending daily aspirin for all older adults, Dr. Most explained. This new study is another factor you should discuss with your doctor when determining if daily aspirin is best for you, he said.
“I currently take a baby aspirin per day. Why? Because I have high risk. My father died of a heart attack, I have high cholesterol. So I have high blood pressure. … But you would probably want to talk to your doctor to make sure that the risk versus reward is there.”
Hear more of Dr. Most’s interview in the audio player below:
Dr. Most also suggested talking to your doctor about switching to an enteric-coated aspirin. The coating can help reduce harm to the stomach lining and help prevent stomach bleeding.