The Basics: Overview
Taking low-dose aspirin (or “baby aspirin”) regularly can lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, and colorectal cancer. For most people, aspirin is safe. But it’s not right for everyone.
Ask your doctor about taking aspirin regularly if you are age 50 to 59 and you have any of these risk factors for heart disease:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Talk with your doctor about your health history and ask if low-dose aspirin is right for you.
Usually, taking aspirin to prevent disease means taking it every day. Most people will need to take aspirin regularly for at least 5 to 10 years to get all of the benefits. Make sure your doctor says it’s okay before you start taking aspirin every day.
What are the benefits of taking aspirin regularly?
Taking low-dose aspirin regularly can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by preventing blood clots. Blood clots are clumps of thickened blood that can block blood flow to parts of the body. They can cause serious health problems or even death.
A blood clot can:
- Block blood flow to your heart and cause a heart attack
- Prevent blood from getting to your brain and cause a stroke
Taking aspirin regularly can prevent blood clots and lower your risk of heart attack or stroke. If you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, aspirin can lower your risk of having another one.
Taking aspirin regularly for at least 5 to 10 years can also lower your risk of colorectal cancer –– but experts aren’t sure why.
Can taking aspirin every day cause any side effects?
Taking aspirin regularly isn’t right for everyone. For some people, it may cause side effects –– like bleeding in the stomach.
Talk with your doctor before you start taking aspirin. Be sure to tell your doctor about any health conditions you have (like stomach problems or bleeding problems).
Find out if daily aspirin is right for you.
Your doctor can help you decide if low-dose aspirin is the right choice for you. Talk with your doctor about:
- Your risk of heart attack or stroke
- What kind of aspirin to take
- How much to take
- How often to take it
- Side effects that it may cause
It’s important to tell your doctor about all the other medicines you take, including vitamins, herbs, and over-the-counter medicines (medicines you can get without a prescription). It may be dangerous to mix aspirin with other medicines.