Harvard Heart Letter

Update on aspirin

People with heart disease should take aspirin; the decision is trickier for those without it.

For survivors of a heart attack or a clot-caused (ischemic) stroke, and for almost everyone else with coronary artery disease, there's an across-the-board recommendation to take an aspirin a day. But what about folks who haven't been diagnosed with heart disease? Can an aspirin a day help them, too?

Aspirin reduces the risk of having a first or repeat heart attack or ischemic stroke. It does this by making platelets less likely to form blood clots. How much it can help depends on your cardiovascular health. The worse it is, the more aspirin can do for you; the healthier your arteries, the less it can do.

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