If you have already had a heart attack, or stroke however, Aspirin clearly is effective in secondary prevention, said study author Dr. Jill Belch, a professor of vascular medicine at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Her report was published in the online issue of the BMJ.
People who had not yet suffered a heart attack or stroke but were at high risk because they had diabetes or peripheral arterial disease (partial blockage of leg arteries), did not benefit from daily aspirin.
Advertisements urging people to take aspirin to benefit the heart are accurate for those who already have had an event, both Belch and Hiatt said.
“It works if you’ve already had a heart attack,” Belch said. “But there is no proof for primary prevention, no proof at all.”
“The evidence is solid that aspirin should be given to people with known heart disease, but the evidence for people who have risk factors for heart disease is different.” said Dr. William R. Hiatt, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, who wrote an accompanying editorial.
Before I had a heart attack, I had a recommendation from the American Heart Association and my family Doctor to take an 81mg. aspirin daily because of a family history of heart attacks and diabetes.
There are some who think that in the future the recommendation may change, but until it does, I think I am glad that I erred on the side of caution, and took my morning aspirin. I still believe it may have helped in lessening the effects when I had my event, and I am convinced that it is right for my situation.
Risks and possible benefits of aspirin for the heart are reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.