Many adults who have never had a heart attack or stroke should take aspirin every day to keep it that way, new U.S. guidelines say.
People in their 50s with risk factors for cardiovascular disease – including high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a history of smoking – may benefit from starting a daily aspirin regimen and staying on it for at least a decade, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government-backed panel of independent physicians.
A daily low-dose aspirin may also help protect against colorectal cancer in people who are taking it to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Because aspirin can cause bleeding in the stomach and brain, this advice doesn’t apply to people with bleeding disorders.
“As with any drug, patients and their doctors must balance the benefits and risks of aspirin,” said USPSTF chair Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California, San Francisco.
Adults aged 50 to 59 who have at least a 10 percent risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next decade can benefit the most from taking 81 milligrams of aspirin a day, according to the new guidelines.
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