What the USPSTF Says About Aspirin as a Shield Against Disease

Aspirin as a Shield Against DiseaseOne proven way to reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke, and colon cancer can be found in almost every convenience store: aspirin. Experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) say that some people should take a daily aspirin even if they haven’t had a heart attack.

The USPSTF recommends daily low-dose aspirin for people ages 50 to 59 who are at high risk for cardiovascular problems, as a means of lowering their risk for both heart disease and colorectal cancer. People ages 60 to 69 may also consider taking aspirin daily, but the USPSTF says people in this age range may have more risks related to aspirin use than those in the 50 to 59 age group.

For people younger than 50, or older than 69, the USPSTF states there’s not enough evidence to make recommendations regarding daily aspirin use.

How Aspirin Helps

Some types of heart attack and stroke occur because blood clots limit blood flow to the heart or brain. Aspirin, however, is a blood thinner. This means that the blood is less likely to clot.

Researchers aren’t sure exactly how aspirin helps prevent colon cancer, but aspirin decreases inflammation, which may reduce cancer development.

Should You Take Aspirin?

Consider taking a daily aspirin if you are age 50 or older and have a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years.

Aspirin use can have serious side effects, however, including intestinal bleeding. So be sure to talk with your doctor about whether aspirin therapy is right for you.

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