[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/20/sanjay.gupta.cnn.jpg caption="CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers your questions."]
Asked by Sharon, Mays Landing, New Jersey:
“My husband’s doctor told him to take an aspirin a day. Should I be taking one too?”
Thanks for the question Sharon. Aspirin is a medication we often get questions about, probably because an estimated one-third of Americans take it every day. The popular pain reliever is easily accessible, inexpensive, and available at your local pharmacy. It is commonly used to treat arthritis, headaches and fever among other minor pains. But what is often confusing is whether taking it every day can help prevent ailments– a heart attack or stroke.
Most daily users were most likely prescribed aspirin to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease. But it is important to note that not all people will benefit from this treatment, and in some cases, it can be dangerous.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is a group of independent health experts who review effectiveness and offer usage guidelines for medical treatments and drugs. Last month, the USPSTF updated its 2002 recommendations of who could benefit from a daily aspirin regime.