Q I have had type 2 diabetes for the past 10 years, but my health is good otherwise. Should I be taking daily aspirin? I’ve heard conflicting information about taking aspirin.
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A The medical community has gone back and forth on this topic several times. Because people with diabetes are two to three times more likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes, we used to recommend daily low-dose aspirin to just about everyone with diabetes. Aspirin has a way of “thinning” the blood so that oxygen and nutrients can still reach vital organs even if minor blockages form in blood vessels. Recent research called the ASCEND study confirmed this to be the case. Subjects in the study who received 100 milligrams of aspirin daily were 11% less likely to experience serious vascular events than those who received a placebo (inactive treatment). However, excessive bleeding was 28% more common in those who received daily aspirin.
As is the case with just about any medication, whether it be prescribed or over-the-counter, one must weigh the benefits against the risks. Daily low-dose aspirin is still a good idea for most people with multiple risk factors or existing cardiovascular disease, but for those with relatively healthy blood vessels, the risks may outweigh the benefits. Best to discuss this with your personal physician so that you can make an educated decision.
Want to learn more about diabetes and heart health? Read “Fight Off Heart Disease With These Heart-Healthy Foods” and take our heart disease quiz.