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Should my father continue taking daily aspirin to prevent heart disease?

Hello, and thank you for helping so many people out with your guidance. My father (age 65) has been taking a daily dose of aspirin (81mg) for the past 10 years right after his first and only angina episode. He has no other history of any heart disease/condition/attack, nor any bleeding incidents. His total cholesterol levels stay around 200-205, and fasting blood sugar between 120-126. In light of recent research and his history, should he continue taking aspirin? If not, should he stop abruptly or gradually taper down? 

submitted by Abdul from Broomfield, Colorado on 10/31/2012


Michael J. Mihalick, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Michael J. Mihalick, MD  

Dear Abdul: In my opinion your father should continue his aspirin. In addition to decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke, aspirin ingestion has been associated with a lower incidence of dementia and colon cancer. Other benefits are being discovered. Unless there is severe GI upset and bleeding (or in rare cases hives), the benefit of his taking aspirin far outweighs the risk. 

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Updated November 2012
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