Thu Aug 23, 2007
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An estimated 43 million U.S. adults take an aspirin every day or almost every day, according to a U.S. government survey, a figure that accounts for a fifth of the adult population.
Most are taking the pills for their health — such as to prevent heart attacks or strokes — the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found.
Aspirin relieves pain and reduces fever. But it also can lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes caused by blood clots, because it makes the blood clot less efficiently.
Newer drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen have largely replaced aspirin in treating fevers and everyday aches and pains because aspirin can also cause sometimes deadly stomach and intestinal bleeding.
However, low-dose aspirin can be a safe way to reduce the effects of heart disease.
More than half of the estimated 26 million U.S. adults who were told by a doctor that they had heart disease said they took an aspirin regularly, the survey found. And 48.5 percent aged 65 and older said they took aspirin regularly.
The researchers used data from the 2005 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which is based on detailed questionnaires sent to more than 32,000 people every year.