CAN ASPIRIN PROLONG GOOD HEALTH?
Based on quality evidence, doctors prescribe daily low dose aspirin to people who have had a heart attack or stroke to help prevent that event from reoccurring. Aspirin may help older people to live well for longer by delaying the onset of illnesses in the first place. In fact, previous studies have shown that low dose aspirin:
- Reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and vascular events in middle aged people
- May help to prevent cognitive decline, depression and forms of cancer such as bowel cancer
However, aspirin is known to have adverse-effects, such as bleeding, that may offset its benefits. Before doctors can know for sure if aspirin is helpful in prolonging healthy, disability-free life in older people, the benefits must be weighed against the risks.
There have been no clinical aspirin studies focussed on older people; as we age we have the most to gain from the beneficial actions of aspirin but we are also at risk from aspirin’s bleeding side effects. So ASPREE will determine for the first time, the balance of aspirin’s effects in healthy older people.