Taking a daily low-dose aspirin can help adults who are at risk for heart disease prevent a heart attack and stroke as well as colorectal cancer, according to an U.S. panel of health experts.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently released recommendations that adults between ages 50 to 69 who have a higher risk for heart disease take daily aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke. There’s also some benefit, though lower, for people between ages 60 to 69 years old. They add that aspirin should be used by people who do not have a higher risk for gastrointestinal bleeding—which aspirin has been linked to in some cases—and they should take it every day for at least 10 years. For people that are taking the aspirin to prevent heart issues, it can also add protection against colon cancer.
How much a person can benefit from a daily aspirin can depend on their risk for the disease, which can include smoking or high blood pressure.
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed its aspirin guidelines cautioning that taking a daily aspirin if you haven’t already had a heart attack may not be that beneficial. Still, many doctors will recommend it for heart-related symptoms like chest pain. The agency does support the use of aspirin to prevent a secondary heart complication. You can read more about the USPSTF’s position here and the FDA’s position here.