Blood thinners have become one of the most prominent drugs prescribed by cardiologists, especially those with heart conditions, making them prone to heart attacks and strokes. But, this begs the question, are they perfect for you?
For most medications, your doctor is the only one who can genuinely make that determination, but to help you get a better understanding, here is everything you need to know about blood-thinning medication.
Blood Thinners: What They Are
Blood thinners are a type of medicine explicitly made to reduce the potential for blood clots, allowing blood to flow throughout your veins freely. The primary purpose of this is to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger. They can also aid in the treatment of certain heart defects and diseases. Ultimately protecting the user from heart attacks and strokes.
In the mid-nineteen hundreds, Coumadin began its rise in popularity. Doctors grew to favor this blood thinner, and it soon became the leading drug for preventing blood clots. It remained the top drug for decades to come.
Coumadin decreases the chance of blood clots by hindering the production of the blood clotting elements dependent on vitamin K. Being on Coumadin will require dietary restrictions so that the intake of vitamin K can be safely standardized.
Recently, a different drug has taken over the blood-thinning market. NAOC’s, or non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants, have surpassed Coumadin as the drug of choice for those dealing with atrial fibrillation (A-fib). They require much less maintenance as well. In addition, they do not interact with vitamin K, do not require regular blood testing, and have a lower risk of issues revolving around excessive bleeding.
Examples of Blood Thinners
There are many other different blood thinners out there. Here are a few examples:
How Blood Thinners Work
Based on the name, you think these drugs make your blood thinner. Well, that is untrue. Blood thinners, or anti-clotting medication, work by ensuring that different elements of your blood do not stick together. This is how they can prevent blood from clotting.
There are three main groups of elements used in blood thinners. There are oral anticoagulants, antiplatelets, and heparins.
This group stops certain clotting factors within the bloodstream from operating. It is highly effective for those with A-fib.
This group stops the blood platelets from clotting as quickly. While much weaker than anticoagulants, they are the perfect option for those who have had a stroke or a heart attack.
Like the other two, heparins work to prevent some aspects of the blood from clotting. They differ because they are very fast-acting, making them the perfect solution for patients who are experiencing sudden and severe symptoms.
Reasons to Need Blood Thinners
There are many different reasons for someone to need to take blood thinners. In fact, over two million people a year take them. Here are a few examples of people that may need to take blood thinners.
A-fib is one of the most common causes for the prescription of anti-clotting medication. In these cases, it aids in preventing the patient from having a stroke or heart attack.
In cases when the patient has some heart or blood disease, blood-thinning medication is often a great choice.
Those overweight have a much higher risk of experiencing unwanted blood clotting. In many cases, blood thinners can become necessary.
Blood clotting is a useful part of the human body. When you cut yourself, it aids in sealing up the wound and prevents you from losing more blood. Excessive bleeding is one possible risk of diminishing your blood’s ability to clot. Minor cuts and injuries may bleed much more than expected and could require medical attention.
Blood thinners are a great resource for those who are at risk of blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, and other various heart and blood diseases. While they come with various dietary restrictions and risks, the medical community agrees that their benefits strongly outway their risks and limitations. So be sure always to keep your doctor well informed and follow their directions exactly. That’s everything you need to know.