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An aspirin a day? U of M says you should ask your doctor that question

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We've heard that an apple a day can keep the doctor away. But what about an aspirin a day?

A campaign rolled out by the University of Minnesota encourages you to ask that very question of your doctor (if your apple-eating habit allows you to cross paths, that is).

The "Ask About Aspirin" campaign is aimed at Minnesotans whose risk of a heart attack or stroke would be reduced by taking a low-dose aspirin daily.

Taking aspirin does have a downside, though – notably, the possibility of intestinal bleeding – and for some people that could outweigh the benefits.

The university's Ask About Aspirin web page includes a self-assessment tool to help you size up your personal risk. But the campaign's biggest push is for Minnesotans to talk with their doctors directly.

It targets men aged 45 to 79 and women aged 55 to 79.

The U of M says 16,000 first-time heart attacks and strokes happen in Minnesota per year. MPR News says that makes them the leading cause of death in the state.

A study at Harvard last year concluded that the majority of Americans who could benefit from daily low-dose aspirin are not taking it, while many of those who are taking it should not.

Mayo Clinic says for those who have already had a heart attack, doctors are likely to recommend a daily aspirin.

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