( CNN) If you’re a healthy older adult looking for ways to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, don’t turn to that age-old standby: daily low-dose aspirin. It’s no longer recommended as a preventative for older adults who don’t have a high risk or existing heart disease, according to guidelines announced Sunday by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
“For the most part, we are now much better at treating risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and especially high cholesterol, ” said North Carolina cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell, who wasn’t involved in the new guidelines. “This attains the biggest difference, probably contradicting any previously perceived aspirin benefit in primary prevention.”
Doctors may consider aspirin for certain older high-risk patients, such as those who have trouble lowering their cholesterol or managing their blood sugars, as long as there is no increased risk for internal bleed, the guidelines say. European guidelines recommend against the use of anti-clotting therapies such as aspirin at any age.