According to the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), low dose aspirin therapy helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues such as stroke or heart attack. Low dose aspirin therapy is not for every patient. As such, patients should be educated on the risks and benefits before aspirin therapy is prescribed.
The USPSTF guidelines on low dose aspirin apply to adult men and women without a history of coronary heart disease or stroke when the potential benefit outweighs the harmful effects. The USPSTF recommends aspirin use for:
Men age 45 to 79 to reduce their risk of heart attacks when the benefits outweigh the danger of potential gastrointestinal bleeding.
Women age 55 to 79 to reduce their risk of ischemic stroke when the benefits outweigh the danger of potential gastrointestinal bleeding.
The USPTSF advises against low dose aspirin use for women younger than 55 years and men younger than 45 years because there is limited evidence of its effectiveness for these populations. In addition, the USPSTF could not find clear evidence that the benefits of aspirin use outweigh the risks in people 80 years and older. Practitioners should consider other risk factors such as diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and family history before deciding whether to use aspirin to help prevent heart attack or stroke.