Aspirin possesses the potential to be clinically beneficial in the treatment of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) but simultaneously runs a health risk. Individualized assessments are therefore crucial.
Typically in developing countries, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading contributors to the decline in population. It not only robs people of a healthy lifestyle but it goes as far as to rob them of their lives.
ASCVD originates when there is a build-up of cholesterol studded plaque which can easily progress to a point where the arteries get narrow. Strokes as well as heart attack are two of the consequences of ASCVD. Researchers have found that the utilization of Aspirin as primary prevention has a net benefit; however, the benefits of Aspirin are at a cost. Patients will run the risk of gastrointestinal (relating to stomach and the intestines) bleeding. Individualized assessments are therefore required to control the benefit to risk ratio of Aspirin. Factors like age, sex and dosage must be considered in the calculations.
The paper, ‘Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease’ was quite insightful in regards to the methodological approach undertaken. An extensive review of publications from medical research databases was done with keywords. The result surrounding the benefit to risk ratio of Aspirin, supported by a pool of 118000 patients in 11 trials, substantiated its use as primary prevention; provided that the benefit to risk ratio of Aspirin balance is reached, there’s an evaluation of the bleeding risk factors, a personalized approach is taken and low-dose Aspirin are employed. Moreover, the drug is utilized as a secondary prevention of colorectal (colon) cancer.
In an effort to use Aspirin as the primary prevention and maximize the use of its benefits, there must be equilibrium as the bleeding consequence is very much real and must be considered. Low dose Aspirin is recommended.
Written By: Tarique Plummer, BSc Hons Biochemistry & Biotechnology