A blood thinner is a type of medication intended to prevent the formation of blood clots. Blood clots refer to thickened clumps of blood that pose a risk of blocking a vessel, which can lead to organ dysfunction or failure over time.
The body naturally creates clots to stop bleeding from a damaged vessel while it heals. But problematic clots that do not dissolve on their own could create a medical emergency.
Your doctor may prescribe different types of this medicine depending on your unique needs. An anticoagulant blood thinner will slow the body’s process of making clots. And an antiplatelet will stop the blood cells within the body from clumping together.
Before taking a new medication, you likely want to know more about its effects. Read on to see responses to frequently asked questions regarding blood thinner that your cardiovascular doctor might prescribe.
Why Do I Need Blood Thinners?
Because clotting in the blood occurs naturally, why do some patients require blood thinning medication to prevent blood clots from forming? Certain patients have clotting disorders or other heart or vascular diseases that mean that blood clots develop abnormally. In these cases, a doctor may prescribe blood thinners to manage blood clot formation.
Those with chronic cardiovascular concerns like an abnormal heart rhythm or a heart defect might need blood thinners. Blood can remain in the heart for a longer time in these patients, which allows it to create clots that can cause many health problems. Blood thinners reduce the chances of this clotting.
The above-mentioned patients may need to take blood thinners for a long time, sometimes for the rest of their life. But blood thinners could be prescribed on an acute basis too. For instance, patients might also need to take blood thinners after surgery, especially if they have a personal or family history of forming blood clots.
People tend to have mobility issues as they recover from a medical procedure, which may lead to circulation problems that can increase the risk of blood clots. Follow your doctor’s aftercare advice, including walking when you can and wearing compression stockings, to prevent blood clots.
Are There Side Effects with Blood Thinners?
As with many medications, blood thinners come with side effects even as they protect your body from clots. This medicine slows your body’s ability to clot blood, which can make you less likely to stop bleeding. Pay attention to your body, and if you notice signs of bleeding that do not cease, including internally, call your doctor.
You might notice other side effects like nausea, which is common when taking blood thinners. Contact your doctor if you feel frequent dizzy spells or fainting as this could point to blood loss.
Blood thinners work to prevent clots, but they cannot break up existing clots within your bloodstream. A cardiovascular specialist can diagnose, monitor, and treat the blood clots you already have. Do not ignore signs that you have a blood clot.