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Stroke

People with AF (which causes an ‘irregular heart beat’) have an increased risk of having a stroke and are often treated with warfarin or aspirin to reduce this risk. In June 2014, the updated NICE guidance on the treatment of AF recommended that aspirin should not be used to prevent stroke in this condition (unless people have another reason to take it). Instead, those individuals with AF who have a higher risk of stroke should be offered warfarin or a new blood thinning tablet. These treatments are more effective than aspirin at preventing strokes caused by AF. However, most people who have a stroke do not have AF and will not benefit from warfarin. Aspirin is known to reduce the risk of circulatory problems such as heart attacks and strokes among people who have already suffered such events. ASCEND aims to find out whether aspirin is also beneficial for people with diabetes but who do not already have problems with their circulation.