Guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology warn healthy Americans not to take low-dose aspirin for heart disease prevention because of the risk of bleeding. I think that those organizations are wrong, because aspirin has benefits for both cardiac and cancer protection.
The chief benefit of aspirin for heart disease is that it is an anticoagulant, which means it thins the blood, protecting against the formation of blood clots in the heart’s vessels — the chief cause of heart attack.
But aspirin is also anti-inflammatory. Today, scientists believe that long-term inflammation may cause DNA damage that can result in cancer. This is why people with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases — such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease — face an increased risk of colon cancer.
Aspirin has a long record of benefits and safety. With the prospect of it impacting both of the top killer diseases in the U.S., I am not backing away from my longstanding endorsement of taking it daily.
And the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is an influential health agency, agrees with me.
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