Blood Thinners

Some heart and blood vessel diseases cause blood flow to be poor so blood thinners are prescribed. Blood thinners are used to reduce risks for heart attack and stroke. Thinners are also used for those who have had heart surgery or suffer from atrial fibrillation. The two main categories of blood thinners are anticoagulants and antiplatelets. One lengthens blood clot time and the other prevents any sort of clumping. The challenge with blood thinners is finding the right dose and keeping that level consistent. Deviations in diet, while on blood thinners, at any time can cause issues from feeling tired to bleeding to death. Needless to say, it's important to understand how blood thinners will affect you and your lifestyle.

 

Frequently Asked Questions ( 6 )   Add a Question

  1. What is an Antiplatelet?
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    Platelets temporarily stop your body's ability to clot. While there are prescription strength options, most doctors start patients on over-the-counter aspirin. Not only will aspirin help prevent a stroke by can be used in an emergency during heart attacks.
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  2. How are anticoagulants different from antiplatelets?
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    Anticoagulants don't prohibit clots. Instead they actually stop the process which begins clotting in the first place. Vitamin K is required for clotting so these drugs block Vitamin K from entering the liver for processing. These are primarily used for those with serious atrial fibrillation.

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  3. I've heard that warfarin blood thinners are dangerous. Is that true?
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    Blood thinners are dangerous in that they don't let blood clot. While that's good news for reducing the chances of stroke, it's bad if you get a cut. In the case of a major laceration, immediate medical attention would be needed. The only way to stop the bleeding would be through a large dose of Vitamin K and fresh plasma.

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  4. Do I have to have blood work done while I'm taking blood thinners?
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    Yes. Depending on which drug you are prescribed you will need to have lab work done as often as once every week. Once your levels settle, blood work my not be done as often. However, you will need testing frequently if you suffer from irregular heart diseases or a high risk of stroke.

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  5. What will affect the way my blood thinners work?
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    As with many medications, you must be careful to alert your doctor to all prescriptions you are currently on to avoid conflicts. Some drugs may cause your blood thinner to thin your blood too much. In such cases patients have bled to death from minor accidents. Herbal supplements and products with vitamin K are also not meant to mix with blood thinners.

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  6. Do I need to be on a special diet while taking blood thinners?
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    Watching your diet is always a must with any medical condition. For those taking blood thinners the biggest diet issue is avoiding foods high in vitamin K. Dark greens, like kale and broccoli, can change the effectiveness of blood thinners. Herbal tea has also been linked to issues with blood thinners.

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