Anyone who has had heart surgery or stents implanted into their arteries know that blood thinners have saved their lives. The blood thinner medications makes it easier for the heart to pump blood. It reduces the stress on your body so to speak. But there is also one caveat with the use of these medications. There is the possibility that you can bleed profusely to the point of death from something as simple as a cut. It is rare but the right injury can cause a severe loss of blood.
What Is A Blood Thinner ?
A clot has two main components called fibrin and platelets. Fibrin is a protein that forms a mesh that traps red blood cells and is mostly used in the veins. Platelets, a type of blood cell, form clumps that add to the mass of a clot and is dominant in arteries. For this there are two main types of blood thinners used to help a person. The first type is know as an anticoagulant. Anticoagulants are medications that help your body reduce the amount of fibrin in a blood clot. Anticoagulants like Warfarin (Coumadin) and Heparin slow down the clotting reaction. The second type of blood thinner is called antiplatelet. The antiplatelet drugs as the name suggests prevent the platelet from bunching up (clotting). Aspirin and Plavix (Clopidogrel) are well known antiplatelet drugs.
So of what value are these anticoagulant drugs? Well anytime you have surgery to repair or unclog any part in your body, you will have scarring which is your body’s reaction to healing with a clot. Let’s say you had a stent implanted into your artery to have it unclogged. Your body will react to the foreign object by attacking it and then clotting it to repair any damage. This clotting action can actually create another clog. So you want your medication to prevent coagulation by thinning the thickness of your blood.
What Not To Do
When taking prescription drugs that are used for anticoagulation, you have to be extra careful. Something as simple as an ulcer can hospitalize you. Having a menstrual cycle can be heavier than normal. Even something as simple as falling off a bicycle and bruising your arm can be dangerous since the bleeding will be occurring under your skin. Some prevention tips include: being very careful using knives and scissors, use an electric razor, do not use toothpicks and be careful when you trim your toenails. When enjoying the great outdoors, always wear shoes and gloves and avoid activities and sports that can easily hurt you.
Have you had a cut that wouldn’t stop bleeding due to blood thinners?