An Aspirin each day?

(NBC News) Aspirin is one of the oldest pain relievers on the market. It’s cheap, and it’s readily available, and now the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says there’s good evidence it helps protect against heart attacks, stroke and colon cancer for some age groups.

"The science tells us that there is benefit to regular use of low-dose aspirin in people between the ages of 50 and 70," says Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo.

The recommendation applies only to those who are at risk for heart disease, but at low risk for aspirin’s side effects. The drug thins the blood, increasing the likelihood of bleeding in the brain and stomach.

Experts say aspirin is no substitute for colon cancer screenings, as well as a healthy diet and exercise routine.

For those who might benefit, doctors say heart protection starts soon after starting on aspirin therapy.

"The benefits for colon cancer prevention, really you have to be taking aspirin for five to ten years before you see that benefit," Dr. Bibbins-Domingo notes.

The experts stress talking to your doctor before starting on aspirin and asking about your personal risks, including when you should start taking it, how much you should take, and for how long.

Related Articles