Should you take an aspirin daily to prevent strokes and heart attacks? That question seems simple enough, and based on general comments you might think it is a good idea, but the scientific data on daily aspirin remains mixed.
Yes….aspirin prevents many heart attacks and strokes, but it does have side effects that are significant. These include: excessive bleeding, including bleeding strokes….and stomach irritation from aspirin (which is known to cause ulcers).
For the average person these negatives are approximately equal to the positive preventive effects of aspirin, but there is an additional benefit to aspirin that is definitely worthwhile and that is the prevention of colon polyps and colon cancer. Aspirin has been shown to confer a benefit in this regard, and when you add this benefit to the heart attack & stroke benefit, this definitely outweighs the complications.
I recommend for most people who are interested in taking aspirin daily that they purchase a bottle of #100 Coated Baby Aspirin. Then, over the course of a year, they take the entire bottle, which is approximately 1 every 3 days or so. With aspirin effects lasting 7 days, this program will minimize the bleeding issues while maintaining all of the potential benefits of blood thinning.