A LOW daily dose of aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes in people who are at higher risk – but there are risks.
According to the NHS, the usual dose of 75mg a day can make your blood less sticky.
However, new research has shown that regular use of aspirin may increase the risk of developing anemia, particularly in people aged 65 and over.
According to the NHS, iron deficiency anemia is caused by a lack of iron in the blood.
Merely taking the pills for preventive reasons when you haven’t had a heart attack could do more harm than good, the study published in the journal said Annals of Internal Medicine specified.
“There is increasing evidence that aspirin for pure prevention may not be as beneficial as we thought and may be more harmful than we thought,” said Parag Goyal, MD, a New York-based cardiologist who is not involved in the new Research involved was health.
However, he emphasized that the new findings only apply to people who do not have a heart condition.
“If someone has had a heart attack in the past, it’s really important to keep taking aspirin,” he said.
Taking aspirin for preventative reasons is gaining popularity among people who have not had a heart attack or stroke.
But thinner blood can also mean there is a risk of ulcers and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
When someone has anemia, it means their body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to oxygenate their tissues.
Symptoms can include:
- fatigue and lack of energy
- shortness of breath
- noticeable heartbeat (palpitations)
- pale skin
According to Health, anemia can also cause irritability.
The researchers suggested that people taking aspirin daily should be aware of these symptoms and may need additional monitoring from healthcare professionals.
The researchers behind the study followed 19,000 people aged 65 and older, half of whom took 100 mg of low-dose aspirin daily for more than four years, while the remaining people took a placebo.
The team took blood samples from all participants and found that people who took low-dose aspirin daily were about 20 percent more likely to develop anemia than people who didn’t take it.
Light bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, which is easy to miss, is the most likely cause of anemia, study author Erica Wood said.
Goyal told Health, “Sometimes these bleeds are obvious, but often these bleeds are very small and chronic, making them harder to spot.”
According to the NHS, untreated iron deficiency anemia can:
- increase the risk of illness and infection – iron deficiency impairs the immune system
- increase your risk of developing complications that affect the heart or lungs – such as an abnormally fast heartbeat or heart failure
- B. during pregnancy, can increase the risk of complications before and after birth
Other side effects of taking aspirin daily may include mild indigestion and an increased tendency to bleed.
For example, nosebleeds and bruises can occur more easily, and if you cut yourself, it may take longer than normal for the bleeding to stop.
The NHS advises you to take extra care in activities that could result in injury or cuts.
Always wear a helmet when cycling, wear gloves when handling sharp objects such as scissors, knives and gardening tools, and use an electric razor instead of wet shaving.
It is also worth being careful when brushing your teeth and using a soft toothbrush and waxed dental floss.
How to prevent a heart attack or stroke
There are other ways to prevent a heart attack or stroke than opting to take aspirin every day.
The NHS has recommended that you do the following:
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid excess salt or unhealthy fats
- be more physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- stop smoking
- Reduce your alcohol consumption
- Keep your diabetes under control