4 Things You Should Know About Blood Thinners

Doctor and MedicationHas a doctor told you or a loved one that it may be necessary to take a blood thinner? If so, you may be wondering what the safest option is. The following tidbits can help you or your loved one make the best decision.

  1. Blood thinners do not, in fact, thin your blood. Blood thinners actually prevent the formation of blood clots. Also called anticoagulants, blood thinners do not dissolve clots but may prevent existing clots from causing more dangerous problems.
  2. They can help you even if you don’t already have blood clots. Blood thinners treat certain blood vessel, heart, and lung conditions. But they are also given to patients at risk for blood clots, including those with atrial fibrillation or artificial heart valves. Blood thinners are sometimes prescribed to prevent heart attack and stroke, too.
  3. You will need to be more cautious in everyday life. Blood thinners can cause you to bleed more easily, even internally, so those who use blood thinners should take precaution to avoid falls and injuries. It is also important to be extra careful when using sharp tools such as scissors. You can still do things you enjoy, such as yardwork or bike riding—as long as you wear protective gear.
  4. Prescriptions may be a better fit than aspirin. Aspirin products can lessen the blood’s ability to clot, but depending on your condition, they may cause unwanted side effects. There is a variety of prescription blood thinners on the market.

Tell your doctor about all medicines you are using before taking blood thinners. He or she will help you decide whether their benefits outweigh the risks.

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