I’m willing to bet you’ve at least heard you should take low doses of aspirin every day for heart health. I know I have, and I don’t catch every bit of new medical news out there everyday! With aspirin being affordable and the proposed benefit so great, I bet many of you take it right now to protect your heart.

Heart disease is a serious problem in America, folks, and it’s only becoming more prevalent. The American Heart Association says we lost close to 860,000 Americans in just 2017 alone from heart disease (https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/heart-and-stroke-association-statistics). According to the association, heart disease is killing more people each day in the US than all chronic lower respiratory diseases and all of types of cancers combined. Coronary heart disease is problem number one, followed by stroke, heart failure and high blood pressure.

Naturally, we all want to do things to keep our hearts healthy and avoid the outcomes commonly associated with serious heart disease. Eating right and exercising more are safe bets for a healthy heart, but there’s other advice out there, too. A popular suggestion for years has been that you should take a low dose of aspirin every day to help prevent heart trouble. Now, some new research has shown that while aspirin is great for many things, it’s not clear whether it should be used on a a daily basis for heart disease prevention.

The study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, involved a team of researchers reviewing a total of 67 studies involving aspirin and heart disease outcomes (https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bcp.14310). According to their results, the researchers found some evidence that while low doses of aspirin can lower the risk of healthy people developing heart disease, it came with the significant risk of bleeding in the brain and gastrointestinal tract. They also concluded that while the benefit of preventing heart disease was there, not enough is known about the bleeding risk to justify this regimen.

Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration no longer recommends daily low doses of aspirin for people who have already had a cardiac event, but other studies show that many people continue to take aspirin without the recommendation of a doctor. If you are taking aspirin daily to ward off heart disease, you should speak to your doctor about whether this is the best course of action for you.