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Experts Advise At-Risk Diabetics to Begin Daily Aspirin Later
Date:5/27/2010

In a change, heart & diabetes groups push age threshold up from 40, to 50 for men, 60 for women

THURSDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Three major medical groups have pushed upwards the recommended age at which diabetics should start taking low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke.

According to a joint statement by the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology, only male diabetics over 50 and female diabetics over 60 who are at risk for a heart attack or stroke should be taking aspirin as a preventive.

"Previously, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommended aspirin to prevent heart attacks and stroke in most people with diabetes over the age of 40," noted statement co-author Dr. M. Sue Kirkman, senior vice president for medical affairs and community information at the ADA. However, "more recent studies suggest that the benefits of aspirin are modest, and that aspirin likely would be best for people at very high risk of cardiovascular disease," she said.

The experts defined an "increased risk of cardiovascular disease" in this case as a 10 percent risk of experiencing a heart attack and/or stroke over the next 10 years.

That means that, "those adults with diabetes at increased risk include most men over age 50, and women over age 60, who have one or more of the following additional major risk factors: smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol or a family history of premature cardiovascular diseases," Kirkman explained.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes are at three times the increased risk of cardiovascular events compared with people without diabetes. Among diabetics over 65, it's estimated that 68 percent will die from heart disease and 16 percent from stroke.

On the other side of the equation, the major adverse effects of long-term aspirin use
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