What is ASCEND aiming to find out?
ASCEND aims to answer two important questions for people with diabetes in one study.
If I have diabetes, but have not had problems with my blood circulation (such as a heart attack or stroke), should I take an aspirin every day?
ASCEND aims to find out whether long-term treatment with aspirin is beneficial in people with diabetes, who did not have problems with their heart or blood circulation when they joined the study. Importantly, ASCEND will find out whether any potential benefits of aspirin in reducing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke outweigh any increase in the risk of bleeding.
People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke. In people who already have problems with their circulation (e.g. have had a heart attack) aspirin helps to prevent further circulatory problems and this benefit outweighs the increased risk of bleeding. But in people with diabetes, who do not have problems with their blood circulation, we don’t know whether the benefit of taking aspirin outweighs the risk of bleeding. Although many trials have studied aspirin over the years, few have included enough people with diabetes and so we still don’t have an answer to this important question.
If I have diabetes, but have not had problems with my blood circulation (such as a heart attack or stroke), should I take an omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil) supplement?
ASCEND will also help to find out whether omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) reduce the chances of having a heart attack or stroke in people with diabetes, who do not have problems with their blood circulation. Naturally occurring oils that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish oils) may reduce the chances of a recurrent heart attack among people who have survived a heart attack. These oils have not been widely tested in people with diabetes.