(WFSB) - The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is considering changes to its daily aspirin guidelines for preventing heart disease.
So what does that mean for the thousands of Americans who already take daily aspirin?
The US Preventive Services Task Force is considering making several changes to its guidance on taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart disease and stroke.
While taking a low dose of aspirin has been shown to lower risk of heart attack in some people, the Preventive Services Task Force says in some others, it could cause more harm than good.
“If you are sixty or over, they believe the data now shows no net benefit and an increase risk of complications from bleeding in the GI tract or anywhere else," Dr. Howard Selinger, Chair of Family Medicine at Quinnipiac University, tells us.
Dr. Selinger explains that the task force is reconsidering changes in those over 60 for primary prevention.
“Primary prevention means you’re doing something when there’s no reason to suspect they have a diagnosis. Secondary prevention is somebody who already has a diagnosis cardiovascular disease," continued Dr. Selinger.
In a draft statement, the task force is now recommending those in the 40-59 age range who have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease talk to their doctor about daily use.
Eyewitness News wanted to answer your questions about this change and one we’ve been getting is why now, especially when the last time the task force made recommendations on daily use of aspirin was 2016.
“Three studies came out that were not available back in 2016, studying tens of thousands of people. They found that there was a greater risk of bleeding, whether in the GI tract or elsewhere in the body, than benefit of reduced stroke or reduced heart attack in that age group over sixty," continued Dr. Selinger.
Another big question is what should someone do if they’re already taking daily aspirin?
"If they’re under sixty, they need to have a calculated risk, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. That’s greater than ten percent and a life expectancy greater than ten years to demonstrate benefit," stated Dr. Selinger.
While the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is considering changing their recommendations on daily aspirin use, Dr. Howard explains, as of today, the American Heart Association has not yet changed their recommendations.
“They still say it’s a decision to be made between the doctor and patient for those all the way from age forty to seventy. I always tell our medical residents pick your guidelines, because there are different guidelines," Dr. Selinger added.
If you do suspect you’re having a heart attack, the first thing to do is call 911 and Dr. Howard says if that’s occurring, he recommends taking an adult aspirin.