Benefits of Daily Aspirin Use
Inexpensive and readily available, aspirin has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack when taken daily. Recent studies also suggest it may help prevent a range of diseases in healthy people. With that said, experts are still weighing the benefits of aspirin against potential risks.
A mountain of research has shown that one daily aspirin can help reduce the risk of future cardiovascular episodes in people who have already had a heart attack or stroke. At the same time, newer studies also suggest this over-the-counter pain medicine may hold other major health benefits.
Several studies indicate that aspirin may protect against a variety of cancers, preterm birth and preeclampsia. Researchers at Cornell University have also shown that salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, may protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by preventing harmful proteins from entering the brain.
Should I Take a Daily Aspirin?
While research suggests that aspirin may indeed offer disease protection, experts aren't ready to recommend it for healthy people. Neither the Canadian Cardiovascular Society nor the European Society of Cardiology recommend daily aspirin as a preventative measure for people who have yet to experience a stroke or heart attack. Likewise, in 2014 the FDA denied a request from Bayer, which had sought permission to include prevention of a first heart attack in the list of uses on its product label.
Currently, most health experts agree aspirin's risks outweigh its potential health benefits. That said, for obese patients over the age of 35 and other people at high risk for cardiovascular problems, a daily aspirin may be appropriate.
If you're wondering whether a daily aspiring regimen might be right for you, talk to your doctor. Never begin an aspirin regimen without a full evaluation from your health care provider, or you could risk a number of serious side-effects, including life-threatening internal bleeding.