HEALTH

One aspirin a day could cause anemia in the elderly, study finds

In the US, aspirin is taken daily by at least 40 per cent of adults who are 60 years of age or older. Intake is justified by the fact that such individuals need to prevent blood clots that could cause strokes or heart attacks.

In recent years, however, experts are re-evaluating the daily use of aspirin for all elderly people because in many of them it could cause an increased risk of bleeding, even more subtle bleeding, which could then lead to anaemia. For some elderly people, however, daily aspirin use remains recommended, especially if they have already had episodes of heart attacks or strokes.

The study did not look into how aspirin might contribute to anaemia, but the researchers do have an idea of how this might happen.

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The daily intake of aspirin
In the US, aspirin is taken daily by at least 40 per cent of adults who are 60 years of age or older. Intake is justified by the fact that these individuals need to prevent blood clots that could cause strokes or heart attacks. (Source: cnn.com)
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What could cause daily aspirin intake
In recent years, however, experts are re-evaluating the daily use of aspirin for all elderly people because in many of them it may cause an increased risk of bleeding, even more subtle bleeding, which could then lead to anaemia. For some elderly people, however, daily aspirin use remains recommended, especially if they have already had episodes of heart attacks or strokes.
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How daily aspirin could contribute to the origin of anemia
The study did not address how aspirin might contribute to anaemia, but the researchers do have an idea of how this might happen. Apparently, aspirin would make it more difficult for blood to clot and block an enzyme called Cox-1, which is important for maintaining the lining of the stomach and intestines. As this protective barrier is damaged, small amounts of blood may leak from the intestine, causing anaemia.
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Those most at risk
While for many people it remains important to take daily aspirin, for others there may be an increased risk. In particular, the risk would be significant for those suffering from anaemia or inflammatory diseases such as arthritis or chronic kidney failure.
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Data from the study
The 20 per cent of those who take aspirin are more likely to be anaemic than those who do not, according to the researchers. Twenty-four per cent of the elderly who take aspirin every day are expected to develop anaemia within five years, at least according to the study.
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19/04/2024
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