New study on aspirin has contradictory results, finding both increased and decreased risks for use in diabetic patients
08/14/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

Based on research that was presented at the American College of Cardiology's 67th Annual Scientific Session, individuals who have both Type 2 diabetes and heart failure, and take an aspirin daily, seem to have a lower risk of dying or being hospitalized for heart failure.

But surprisingly enough, the data showed that the intake of aspirin can also increase the risk of nonfatal heart attack or stroke.

The study was the first of its kind to examine aspirin as a preventive measure for patients with both diabetes and heart failure. Aspirin is a blood thinner and it is often recommended for individuals who have previously had a heart attack or stroke.

However, guidelines are vague when it comes to the use of aspirin as a preventive measure for patients who are at risk for cardiovascular disease but don't have a history of heart attack or stroke.

The results of earlier studies in individuals who have never experienced these kinds of health events had conflicting evidence concerning aspirin's potential benefits in the general population. Meanwhile, several studies imply that the daily intake of aspirin could be harmful in patients with heart failure. (Related: Aspirin: The Good and The Bad.)

At least 27 million people in the U.S. have Type 2 diabetes while around 6.5 million adults in the country have heart failure, a condition where the heart is too weak to pump blood that the body needs to function. Both conditions are linked to higher risk for cardiac events, like heart attack and stroke. This study highlights the potential risks and benefits of aspirin for people with both conditions.


Dr. Charbel Abi Khalil, assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar and the study's lead author, explained that the paradoxical nature of the results surprised them. He added that this finding could be due to the patient's age, stating that those who were 70 years old and older were more "predisposed to more cardiac events."

The study authors used the health records of over 12,000 patients aged 55 and above who had Type 2 diabetes and heart failure but no record of atrial fibrillation, heart attack, peripheral artery disease, or stroke. The data came from a U.K. database known as The Health Improvement Network (THIN). At least half of the participants were prescribed daily aspirin and half were not.

Aspirin inhibits the blood's ability to clot by reducing the activity of platelets, which aggregate when clots form. Both diabetes and heart failure cause changes in the blood that makes clot formation more likely, and this is why these conditions are linked to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Dr. Abi Khalil said that diabetes and heart failure are connected to "increased blood clotting activity." Since aspirin lowers platelet aggregation, it is believed that the drug can lower the chance of harmful blood clots forming, especially those that may cause heart attacks and strokes.

Dr. Abi Khalil warned patients to consult healthcare professionals first before they take aspirin.

The study was limited since it referenced the retrospective analysis of health records instead of a randomized controlled trial. Further research is required to "help to confirm the findings, further elucidate the risks and benefits of aspirin use in this patient population, and potentially inform specific guidelines for treatment of patients with diabetes and heart failure."

Natural foods and nutrients that also act as blood thinners

If you have diabetes or heart failure, consider these natural blood thinners:

  • Cayenne peppers – Cayenne peppers may have a potent blood-thinning effect because they are rich in salicylates, the major ingredient in aspirin and other pain-relievers. They can also lower blood pressure and increase circulation.
  • Cinnamon – Cinnamon and cassia (its close cousin), both contain coumarin, a chemical that is an effective anticoagulant. Coumarin consumed with cinnamon and cassia may help lower blood pressure and relieve inflammation due to arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
  •  Turmeric – Curcumin, the main curative ingredient of turmeric, works on platelets to prevent blood from clotting.
  • Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a mild anticoagulant.

You can read more articles about natural ways to prevent heart disease and other blood thinners at

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