If you have any of the major risk factors for heart disease, taking aspirin on a regular basis might help keep your ticker in good health, but it’s still not a pill to take lightly. Major risk factors that could potentially warrant aspirin use would include increasing age (65 or older), heart disease in the family, or a personal history of heart problems such as a heart attack or stroke. “A heart attack is an acute blockage of a blood vessel that usually comes about due to a platelet plug,” says Ric Saguil, MD, FAAFP. “Aspirin helps prevent these types of inflammatory responses (platelet plugs), and thins the blood.” Consult with your doctor to make sure that aspirin would be the right choice for you as there can be serious side effects such as gut bleeding. The risks can potentially outweigh the benefits, so it’s important to have a full evaluation before popping the pill. If you have an ulcer, kidney disease history, bleeding problems, aspirin sensitivity, asthma, or a past of hemorrhagic strokes, you definitely should not take aspirin.
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