Aspirin is not recommended to prevent a heart attack or stroke if you are at low risk of developing heart disease or if you are 70 or older.
It is much more important to focus on:
- Adopting healthy lifestyle habits such as heart-healthy eating, regular exercise, weight control and not using tobacco
- Watching and controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol
In some cases, daily aspirin (100 mg or less) might be considered if you don’t have heart disease. For example:
- If you have a strong family history of heart disease or stroke — or both — at a young age(s) and are NOT at high risk for bleeding.
- If your health care professional orders a coronary artery calcium (CAC) scan, that shows a high amount of calcium in the walls of your heart’s arteries. This can be a sign of early heart disease.
If you are prone to bleeding, aspirin should not be taken on a regular basis.
The benefit of aspirin to help prevent a second heart attack or stroke is well known.
Aspirin is commonly prescribed to people who have:
- Blockages in or hardening of their heart’s arteries (coronary artery disease)
- Had bypass surgery or a stent(s) placed to open clogged arteries
- Had a heart attack
- Had a stroke or mini-strokes
Aspirin is most often prescribed along with another antiplatelet medication to help prevent blood clots from forming in the arteries. It is usually taken for life.