When Not to Take Aspirin for Heart Health

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Taking aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack may be totally unnecessary – even dangerous. Although doctors often suggest it, a new study finds that 50 percent of middle-age adults don't need the preventative medicine in the first place – and it makes them up to four times as likely to suffer internal bleeding.

"Aspirin helps keep blood from clotting, which is what causes heart attacks," says study author Dr. Michael Miedema of the Minneapolis Heart Institute. "But for that same reason, it also increases the risk of excess internal bleeding if you fall and hit your head or have a stomach ulcer, for example. For most healthy, middle-age people, who generally have less than 1 percent chance of having a heart attack, the risks of daily aspirin far outweigh the benefits."

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