A recent study out of Italy suggests that regular aspirin use is not recommended for heart and stroke protection.

In a review of nearly 200,000 adults in Italy, aspirin use was associated with increased risk for bleeding in the brain (hemorrhagic stroke) and in the intestines, and that this risk was greater than the benefits in preventing strokes (thrombotic/clotting type) strokes in the general population.  In addition, the benefits of routine aspirin use in diabetic patients was also studied, and it too was called into question.

So….what is a person to do?  Based on this data, routine use of aspirin is not recommended for the average person, but it is useful for people with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.  This would include patients with previous heart attack or stroke, patients who smoke and who have additional risk factors for stroke (such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure).

In addition, do be aware that this finding is not particularly new.  The heart and brain benefits of aspirin have remained ‘mixed’ for many years of study.  In the USA was use aspirin regularly, but the British have reviewed this same data and do not regularly recommend aspirin.   Also, aspirin provides a definite benefit in reducing the risk of colon polyps and colon cancer.  When you combine that benefit with the heart issues, the ‘total benefits’ of aspirin are probably present as a ‘positive’ for most people.