KODE — Countless patients worried about their heart health have been taking a baby aspirin daily as a step toward prevention.

But the guidelines about who should and should not be taking that are changing.

“You know, taking a baby aspirin a day keeps the cardiologists away,” said Dr. Robert Stauffer, Interventional Cardiologist.

So the saying has gone, but Dr. Robert Stauffer says that was before the experts weighed the risk to benefit potential.

“I think we know a lot more about it now, not as benign as we thought it was. And, may actually be one of the drugs that causes the most bleeding of all the anticoagulants,” said Dr. Stauffer.

So if you don’t have coronary disease or are generally at a low risk, he says it may be better to skip the medication, especially for elderly patients.

“The highest bleeding risk, but you know, anybody probably over 60. Some are more high risk than others, but for anybody over 70, the warning is to probably not take that unless you have a definitive reason for that such as an underlying stent, cardiovascular disease, bypass valves, that kind of thing. Between 40 and 60, there may not be as much risk but the benefit may not be that great either,” said Dr. Stauffer.

He adds if you’re unsure, consult your doctor.

“If you’re a diabetic and you’re at very high risk, or you have elevated calcium scores, a lot of people get these cat scans now that say maybe baby aspirin outweighs the risk of bleeding. If you’re an older woman that’s 85 years old, 82 years old, you should probably get off it,” said Dr. Stauffer.