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  • Cameron Oglesby

Should you really still be taking low-dose aspirin?

Back in the early days of commercial television, there were tons of obnoxious commercials for a product called Geritol, a supplement to remedy iron- deficiency anemia, which the ads called “tired blood.”

Iron-deficiency anemia means having too few red blood cells. It can make you feel tired, weak, or dizzy – hence the “tired blood” adspeak – and maybe make your hands and feet cold and your skin pale. (Less common symptoms can include headaches, swollen legs, restless leg syndrome, and dry and brittle hair and nails.)

Today, Geritol is still on the market. And according to a study published last month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, potentially thousands of otherwise healthy people 60 or older may be giving themselves iron-deficiency anemia because of a medicine that 50% of older Americans take every day for their cardiovascular health: low-dose aspirin.

Doctors recommend taking low-dose aspirin as a “blood-thinner” that can help prevent clots which can trigger heart attacks or strokes. But the US Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that people 60 or older should not start taking it for heart disease prevention.

That recent study shows why.

In it, researchers from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States analyzed the results of a four-year trial involving 19,114 participants aged 70 and older. Some were given 100 milligrams of enteric-coated aspirin to take every day, and some got placebos. Data showed that participants taking the low-dose aspirin had a 23.5% higher risk of becoming anemic.

(This may be coincidental, but while the trial used 100 mg doses of aspirin, US low-dose aspirins are almost always only 81 mg. As simple arithmetic will show, the aspirin in the study was 23.4% stronger.)

In any event, not every body reacts to the same medication in the same way, so if you’re taking low-dose aspirin and are in your 60s or older, you should check with your doctor.

Of course, effects of the same medication on different people are only one of an infinite number of ways that no two people are alike. And when it comes to senior care, those differences should, well, make a difference. At Senior Insights, those differences come first.

Working case by case, person by person, has been our core value and our priority ever since we first opened our doors. We’ve always believed that caregiving has to go beyond physical needs and tasks, to address each client’s unique, individual emotional, cognitive, psychosocial and environmental needs as well. That’s why, before anything else, we conduct a thorough three-part needs assessment to determine what a specific client needs – cooking, housekeeping, bathing and dressing, shopping, etc. – and what they most enjoy doing in life. Then, as a holistic full-service senior care agency, we’ll provide caring, experienced, reliable people to provide the exact kind of care that fits those individual needs and desires If you’d like to learn what a difference our holistic approach can make, please click here to contact us.

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