To Your Health
December, 2022 (Vol. 16, Issue 12)
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An Aspirin a Day ... Increases Fall Risk

By Editorial Staff

For the majority of healthy people at low risk for cardiovascular disease, daily low-dose aspirin is not recommended – but that doesn't stop many older people from taking it as a prophylactic (preventive) tactic.

Unfortunately, doing so can increase the likelihood of another health issue associated with aging (and one that can be just as life-threatening as heart disease): the risk of suffering a serious fall.

Researchers randomly allocated two groups of healthy seniors (ages 70 and older, free of cardiovascular disease) to receive one of two interventions for comparison: a daily dose of low-dose (100 mg) aspirin or a placebo tablet. Seniors who took the placebo (aspirin-free) tablet were unaware that it did not contain aspirin.

While low-dose daily aspirin is often recommended for people with cardiovascular disease or who have already suffered a first cardiac event (heart attack, etc.), evidence also suggests it may be beneficial for bone health, "[reducing] bone fragility and falls by delaying bone loss," according to the study authors.

aspirin - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark However,  in their study, daily low-dose aspirin use (average duration: 4.6 years) did not decrease fracture risk compared to non-use; and among the nearly 17,000 participants, use significantly increased the risk of experiencing a serious fall requiring a hospital visit. The researchers conclude: "[The] lack of an effect of low-dose aspirin on the risk of fractures while increasing the risk of serious falls adds to the body of evidence that this agent provides little favorable benefit" in healthy older adults. Findings appear in JAMA Internal Medicine.