Low-dose aspirin therapy has long been touted as a way to reduce your risk for heart trouble, but a new Italian study finds the benefits of using low-dose aspirin may be outweighed by the increased risk of bleeding in the stomach and the brain, in some people.
Researchers looked at the link between low-dose aspirin and the risk for bleeding among nearly 400,000 people, including diabetics.
About half were prescribed a low-dose aspirin regimen of 300 milligrams or less, and then matched with someone who did not take aspirin during the 5-year study period.
Results show that, among non-diabetics, the use of aspirin was associated with a 55 percent increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and 54 percent increased risk of bleeding in the brain.
Diabetics, on the other hand, had a much lower risk of major bleeding episodes, regardless of whether they used aspirin or not.
"Having elevated blood sugar can directly modify the protein on the platelets surface and alter it's function, and so platelet function is thought to be decreased amongst subjects with diabetes. Another thing is the platelet life span is shorter, so that would also increase platelet turnover and can influence the effect that aspirin has," said Dr. Stanley Hazen, a Cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic.
Researchers say any benefit of low-dose aspirin therapy may be offset by the risk of major bleeding, except for diabetics, but more studies are needed.
Dr. Hazen says some people are a bigger bleeding risk than others, but if you're concerned about your aspirin therapy- talk to your doctor.