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Do You Really Need That Daily Aspirin?

May 12, 2015

daily_asprinA recent survey published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine provided new insight into how a significant percentage of adults may be using aspirin as a preventative measure against heart disease. The survey found 52 percent of adults ages 45 to 75 take a daily aspirin and 47 percent of those adults have never experienced a heart attack or stroke.

It’s not difficult to see why so many adults have turned to aspirin as a preventative measure for heart disease. Television commercials often tout the benefits of taking an aspirin to prevent heart attacks and the practice has clearly become fairly common. However, with the recent survey results in mind, some doctors are coming forward to set the record straight.

Who Should Take a Daily Aspirin and Why?

To put it simply, there are risks to taking an aspirin every single day. Long-term use can increase your risk of ulcers and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and brain. Since aspirin helps thin your blood and prevent blood clots, these risks are often thought to be worth it for patients who have a history of heart disease or stroke. However, for those who haven’t had any cardiovascular health concerns and are taking a daily aspirin because they think it “can’t hurt,” the risks are actually equally as likely as the benefits.

Perhaps most concerning from the recent survey was the 43 percent of respondents who reported taking a preventative daily aspirin without first consulting their doctor. A good rule of thumb is to always talk to your doctor first before beginning any regular medication regimen—even with something over-the-counter and seemingly harmless, like aspirin.

If you haven’t had a cardiac event, but are still concerned about your cardiovascular health, talk to your doctor to discover your options. While they may still recommend taking a daily aspirin, it’s important to have a medical opinion behind your decision so you can ensure the risks and benefits are carefully weighed.

Visit the Follow My Health Patient Portal to make an appointment with your doctor today.

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