Since the 1950s, most physicians used to recommend a baby aspirin a day for heart health for most men 50 and older, as well as women.
In March, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association released new guidelines no longer recommending older adults to take a baby aspirin daily to prevent cardiovascular disease, if they don't have a high risk or existing heart disease.
Dr. John P. Higgins is a sports cardiologist at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He said research finds the risks now outweigh the benefits.
"What we're recommending now is that people who are 70 and older, who don't have heart disease and don't have much in the way of risk factors, probably don't need to be taking aspirin," said Higgins.
He said also elderly Asians with low body mass index or people who have an increased risk of bleeding should not take a baby aspirin daily.
Higgins said in the past, taking a baby aspirin a day was used as a preventative measure.
"The studies have shown that there's an increased risk of bleeding, not only in the gastrointestinal system, but also in the brain," said Higgins.
He said aspirin can probably still benefit people age 50-69 with cardiovascular issues (high blood pressure, cholesterol), but it's an individual risk-benefit equation. Regardless of age, people with cardiovascular disease, who have had a stroke, heart attack, coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease will benefit from an aspirin a day.
Patients need to remember to tell their doctors of all medicines they are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, like aspirin.
Also, don't stop taking aspirin suddenly, talk it over with your doctor.