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Aspirin can help prevent a second heart attack, but what about a first?


Dec. 1, 2014 Washington Post

Aspirin is one of the oldest drugs out there. And yet researchers are still learning what it can — and cannot — do.

It’s clear that daily aspirin can be beneficial for people who have had a heart attack or an ischemic stroke. Scores of studies have shown that this simple treatment reduces the chance of having a repeat heart attack or stroke.

Researchers have long wondered whether the drug might also prevent first heart attacks or first strokes. A new study followed 14,000 Japanese people age 60 and older who had high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes — three major risk factors for atherosclerosis, which can block arteries and cause heart attack and stroke.

The results, published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no overall benefit to taking an aspirin a day.

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