Close-up of unrecognizable black woman in kitchen taking break from working on laptop to take medication

A low-dose aspirin each day is not the best way to prevent cardiovascular disease in people over age 60. That is the new recommendation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

The task force said Tuesday that there is little evidence indicating a daily aspirin benefits people in that age group with no history of cardiovascular disease. Adults between the ages of  40 and 59 who have a 10% increased risk of cardiovascular disease over a 10-year period should decide on their own if they want to take a daily aspirin, it said. The task force also found that the evidence isn’t clear if a daily aspirin reduces the risk of colorectal cancer or death. Doctors have long supported people who have had heart attacks or strokes taking aspirin daily to reduce the chances of having second heart attacks or strokes. 

The task force routinely makes recommendations about the effectiveness of preventive care services and this recommendation replaces the 2016 USPSTF recommendation on aspirin use to prevent CVD and colorectal cancer. 

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally, killing an estimated 17.9 million people annually. Reducing alcohol and tobacco use, exercising and eating a healthy, low-sodium diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. A study by the Mayo Clinic found that consuming omega-3 fats can reduce cardiovascular deaths by 35%.

Read more coverage of the new recommendation in McKnight’s Clinical Daily.

Editor’s note: A change was made to the beginning of the second paragraph to clarify that the new guidance pertains to people over age 60 who have no history of cardiovascular disease.