New research suggests that older adults may be able to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes by taking a daily low dose of aspirin. A recent study found that adults over the age of 65 who took a 100 milligram dose of aspirin daily had a 15% lower risk of developing diabetes. The study, which will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, also showed that the aspirin improved fasting plasma glucose levels in older adults. However, it is important to note that the study also found that the aspirin increased the risk of hemorrhage and did not have a significant impact on cardiovascular disease risk.
Before doctors start prescribing aspirin for diabetes prevention, further research is needed to fully understand the drug's impact and risks. Dr. Marilyn Tan, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, expressed skepticism about the magnitude of the results and noted that the study did not provide information on adverse events or risks.
The study was a follow-up to a previous trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2018, which included over 16,000 participants. The participants were divided into two groups, with one group taking aspirin daily and the other group taking a placebo. The group that took aspirin had a 15% lower risk of developing diabetes compared to the placebo group.
While aspirin has mainly been studied for its role in preventing cardiovascular disease, the new findings suggest that it could also play a role in preventing diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is strongly correlated with chronic inflammation, and aspirin's anti-inflammatory properties may slow down the development of the disease.
However, it is important to consider the risks associated with aspirin use, especially for older individuals. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that people over the age of 60 avoid daily low-dose aspirin as a primary strategy to reduce heart disease risk. Taking aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding, which can be significant, especially in older populations.
While the new findings are promising, they are based on previously collected data and further research is needed to confirm the results. Future randomized, placebo-controlled studies will help determine if aspirin is truly effective in reducing the risk of diabetes in older adults. In the meantime, it may be worth exploring non-pharmacologic interventions, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, for diabetes prevention.