There are around 2 to 3 million people who use blood thinners every year. Blood clots can clog the blood flow to your tissues and organs like the brain or heart. With a blood thinner, your blood flow can function normally. Furthermore, this type of drug can be taken intravenously or orally.
What are Blood Thinners?
Blood thinners are a type of drug that prevents blood clots, particularly in the vein, artery, or heart. This is usually prescribed to stroke patients and those with heart diseases. Moreover, blood thinners also help prevent an existing blood clot from expanding or getting bigger.
Blood thinners, just like Eliquis, can be very expensive as other medicines. However, there are some ways you can get cheaper prescriptions drugs. An example of this would be to collect coupons from reliable online sites or stores. Moreover, you can also take advantage of pharmacy member discounts to lower the cost of the drug.
Main Types of Blood Thinners
Blood thinners have two main types: anticoagulant medicine and antiplatelet medicine.
Antiplatelet medicine helps prevent platelets from combining. Those who have peripheral vascular disease or coronary artery disease might need this drug. Also, those who had a stroke or a heart attack are prescribed to take this medicine.
The following are examples of antiplatelet medicines:
- Dipyridamole (Persantine)
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Ticlopidine (Ticlid)
On the other hand, anticoagulant medicine helps prevent the blood from forming too much clot. A doctor can prescribe this type of drug to a person with atrial fibrillation or is considered high risk for a stroke.
Atrial fibrillation is a condition that makes your heart beat irregularly. Instead of a normal beating, your heart will start to quiver if you have this condition. Atrial fibrillation can cause your blood to stay in the heart, leading to blood clots’ formation.
Anticoagulants can also be given to people who have blockages in the brain’s blood vessels or had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), vascular surgery, angioplasty, or bypass graft.
Examples of anticoagulants are:
- Apixaban (Eliquis)
- Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
- Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
Side Effects Blood Thinners Might Have
Blood thinners might cause some side effects to some people. One of the most common reactions would be excessive bleeding. It can happen in different ways, including but not limited to the following:
- Bloody or discolored urine
- Bloody or discolored feces
- Heavy periods
- Bleeding gums
- Prolonged bleeding due to a cut
Other side effects may include:
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
Blood thinners can increase your risk of having internal bleeding. If you are taking blood thinners and accidentally bump your head, it is recommended to see a doctor immediately. Even though you don’t see any indications of external bleeding, internal bleeding might occur in your system.
Your doctor might have to limit your activities, such as taking part in sports. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding. However, this doesn’t mean you are banned from exercising or living a normal life. Walking, jogging, or swimming are some of the safe ways you can do to exercise your body.
It is also essential to inform your dentist that you are taking blood thinners. This is to prevent any excessive bleeding from happening during your regular teeth cleaning sessions. Furthermore, it would help if you also were careful about getting cuts. Hence, protect yourself when using scissors or knives.
Risks of Taking Blood Thinners
Clotting is not always a bad thing. When you accidentally cut yourself, clotting helps seal your wound and prevents you from losing too much blood. Since blood thinners prevent clotting, it might take a while for your wound to heal.
If you notice any unusual bleeding, it is best to contact your doctor immediately. Those taking warfarin (a type of anticoagulant) are usually required to do a regular blood test. This is done to see if you need any adjustment concerning your intake levels.
There are supplements and other medicines that can interfere with this type of drug. It can either make it less or more effective. Hence, it is essential to consult your doctor, especially when it comes to your diet.
Natural Blood Thinners
Some foods and herbs are considered natural anticoagulants. They can help prevent your blood from clotting. However, it is crucial to check with your doctor before eating these types of foods. Taking anticoagulants and eating these foods might be too much for your body to handle.
The following are the types of food that are considered natural anticoagulants:
- Celery seed
Foods that are enriched with vitamin E are also considered natural blood thinners. Oils such as corn, soybean, wheat germ, and olive contain vitamin E. Vitamin E enriched foods include:
- Peanut butter
- Sunflower seeds
In taking blood thinners, it is vital to stick to what your doctor has prescribed. It would be best to take enough dosage for the drug to work well. Furthermore, if you take too much, it might cause you to experience severe bleeding. Hence, make sure that you take in just enough to live a healthy life.