Taking an 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 every day if you are age 50 to 59 and you have any of these heart disease risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Talk with your doctor about your health history and ask if daily aspirin is right for you. Most people will need to take aspirin for at least 5 to 10 years to benefit from daily aspirin use. Make sure your doctor says it’s okay before you start taking aspirin every day.
What are the benefits of taking aspirin daily?
Aspirin can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by preventing blood clots. A blood clot is a clump of thickened blood. It can block blood flow to parts of the body and 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 daily aspirin can prevent blood clots and lower your risk of heart attack or stroke. If you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, daily aspirin can lower your risk of having another one.
Taking aspirin every day for at least 5 to 10 years can also lower your risk of colorectal cancer – but experts aren’t sure why this works.
Can taking aspirin every day cause any side effects?
Taking aspirin daily isn’t right for everyone. For some people, it may be unsafe.
Talk to your doctor before you start taking aspirin every day. Be sure to tell your doctor about any health conditions you have (like asthma or bleeding problems).
To learn more, read these benefits and risks of taking aspirin every day.
Take these steps to protect your health if you are at risk of heart attack or stroke.
Find out if daily aspirin is right for you.
Your doctor can help you decide if daily 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 aspirin can cause
Be sure 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). Aspirin may mix dangerously with other medicines and cause serious side effects.
What about cost?
For some adults, aspirin use is covered under the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010. Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan.
For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.
Know your family’s health history.
Your family history affects your risk for heart attack, stroke, and colorectal cancer. Use this family health history tool to keep track of your family’s health. Share the information with your doctor.
Use aspirin safely.
If you and your doctor decide that aspirin is right for you, follow these safety tips:
- Make sure you understand how much aspirin to take and how often to take it.
- Talk with your doctor before you start taking a new medicine or vitamin. Ask if it’s safe to take with aspirin.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. This means no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men. Alcohol can increase some risks of taking daily aspirin.
- Check with your doctor first if you want to stop taking daily aspirin.
- Get more tips about using medicines safely.
Make it easy to remember.
Here are a few things that may help you remember to take aspirin every day:
- Take it at the same time every day. For example, take it after you brush your teeth or when you eat breakfast.
- Put a reminder note on your bathroom mirror where you will see it each day.
- Use a weekly pill box to keep track of the medicines you take each day.
Take steps to protect your health.
Taking aspirin is just one of many ways to stay healthy.
To lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and colorectal cancer:
Keep your heart healthy.
Get tested for colorectal cancer.
If you are age 50 to 75, get screened (tested) regularly for colorectal cancer. Screening can help prevent colorectal cancer or find it early, when it’s easier to treat. Learn more about colorectal cancer screening.