An Aspirin a Day Can Prevent Cardiovascular Disease and Colon Cancer

Daily use of aspirin could help prevent cardiovascular disease and colon cancer, according to a new recommendation from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). For people between the ages of 50 and 69 who have an increased risk of heart disease, taking an aspirin could be beneficial.

However, how much an individual could benefit from taking aspirin daily depends on their age and risk of the disease, according to the report, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Before starting to take aspirin for primary prevention, people aged 50 to 69 should talk to their primary care clinician to understand their risk of cardiovascular disease and risk for bleeding,” USPSTF Chair Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS, said in a statement.

Adults between the ages of 50 and 59 with a 10% or greater 10-year cardiovascular disease risk will see the most overall benefit and USPSTF recommends aspirin initiation for this group. However, for adults between the ages of 60 and 69 with an equivalent risk of cardiovascular disease, aspirin initiation should be decided with a primary care physician based on the patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease and bleeding, overall health, and personal values and preferences.

For colorectal cancer, the benefits of low-dose aspirin are not apparent until 10 years after initiation of the preventive treatment.

“Aspirin use is more likely to have an effect when it is started between the ages of 50 and 59 years,” according to the USPSTF. “Because of the time required before a reduced incidence in CRC is seen, older persons (that is, 60 years or older) are less likely to realize this benefit than adults aged 50 to 59 years.”

For adults young than age 50 or older than age 70, there is sufficient evidence to assess the benefits and harms of taking aspirin daily.

Cardiovascular disease and cancer are major causes of death with heart attacks and strokes responsible for 30% of all deaths in the US and colorectal cancer responsible for 50,000 deaths in 2014. Colorectal cancer is also the third most common cancer.

The USPSTF reminds people that daily aspirin use is just 1 part of preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer. People can reduce their risk of these diseases through smoking cessation, healthy diets, and physical activity. Regular screening is important to prevent colorectal cancer. Plus, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control can prevent heart attacks and strokes as well..

Please consult your physician or medical professional regarding the above, prior to taking any type of aspirin.

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