Regularly taking aspirin raises the risk of ANOTHER blood disorder, study suggests
Taking low-dose aspirin could lead to a 20 percent higher risk of developing anemia in older people, a study suggests.
Low-dose aspirin is taken on prescription to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people at high risk. It makes the blood less sticky, making dangerous clots less likely.
But a study of 19,114 people over the age of 65 found a difference in the rates of anemia among people taking low-dose aspirin, and those given dummy pills instead for comparison.
Over five years, the probability of developing anemia among those on low-dose aspirin was 23.5 percent compared to only 20.3 percent among people not taking aspirin.
Aspirin is a common pain-killing drug that is often also used for prevention of heart attacks due to its anti-clotting properties. But people without a history of heart issues should not take it as a preventative measure, as it can greatly increase one’s risk of severe bleeding and possibly anemia
Those given low-dose aspirin had around a 20 percent higher risk of anemia, even after taking into account other factors which could raise people’s chances of developing the illness.
Low-dose aspirin can be a vital treatment for preventing blood clots, but the study authors suggest doctors should keep a close eye on them to make sure they do not develop anemia.
The researchers, led by Monash University in Australia, state: ‘This provides further reasons to restrict the use of low-dose aspirin to those with an evidence-based indication and to monitor for development of iron-deficiency anemia in persons taking regular aspirin.’
In elderly people, anemia can lead to increased fatigue, problems with thinking skills and a decline in their ability to complete everyday tasks.
The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, looked back at a study of older people in the US and Australia given a daily low-dose aspirin or a placebo treatment of a dummy pill.
There was no difference in major bleeding events between the two groups, but the authors suggest those on low-dose aspirin may have become iron-deficient and developed anemia because of less severe and hidden internal bleeding.
Aspirin makes bleeds more likely, because platelets are less likely to clump together and stop the bleeding, and the drug also reduces the protective barrier of the gut wall.
People given aspirin in the study had a greater decline in their blood iron levels than those taking placebo pills, which would support this theory.
It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of people aged over 75 worldwide are anemic.
Several recent studies have highlighted the bleeding risk from taking low-dose aspirin.
That is why there are particular concerns among experts that people should only take low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks if it is recommended by their doctor in case it could do more harm than good.