What to Watch Out for When Taking Blood Thinners & Anticoagulants

What to Watch Out for When Taking Blood Thinners & Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants and blood thinners are typically given to people who are at a high risk of developing blood clots and having a stroke or heart attack. While blood thinners break up clots and help reduce your risk of blockage in the brain, heart, and lungs, they come with potential perils of their own. If you are taking an anticoagulant or blood thinner, there are a few things you should pay attention to, such as:

Heavy Bleeding

Because blood thinners counteract the body’s natural blood-clotting capability, they can prevent cuts and other wounds from healing properly. As a result, you could lose a significant amount of blood just by scraping yourself on the edge of a sharp countertop, biting your lip, cutting yourself while shaving, or experiencing any other minor injury. It is critical to avoid potential skin-breaking hazards at all times when taking blood thinners. It is also important to steer clear of places and objects which contribute to your fall risk and could result in head injuries (which cause a great deal more bleeding to begin with) or internal bleeding.

However, scrapes, cuts, and bruises aren’t the only things to watch out for. Heavy bleeding can take other dangerous forms and manifest itself in other ways. Call a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Blood in your stool
  • Blood in your urine
  • Vomiting blood
  • Coughing up blood
  • Menstrual bleeding that is noticeably heavier or longer-lasting than normal

Other Physical Symptoms to Look for When Taking Blood Thinners

Internal and external bleeding are only some of the serious effects you could experience if your blood thinners begin working against you. Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Stomachaches and abdominal pain

Foods to Avoid

One way to make sure your anticoagulants remain your friends is to keep a watchful eye on your diet. People taking blood thinners are not necessarily constrained to specific diet, but there are certain foods and drinks that can negatively interact with blood thinners. It is typically advised that you avoid foods rich in Vitamin K, such as kale, broccoli, blueberries, prunes, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and more. You should also avoid cranberries, cranberry juice, most other fruit juices, and alcohol. (However, in some cases, small amounts of alcohol may be acceptable. Consult with your doctor before making important dietary changes or drinking alcohol of any kind or quantity while taking blood thinners or anticoagulants.)

Ibuprofen is also to be avoided, along with other over-the-counter pain relief medications, as these interact with blood thinners and amplify their effects, making you more susceptible to excessive internal and external bleeding. This is thought to be true of some other dietary supplements, such as Omega-3s. Before you begin taking blood thinners, be sure to talk to your physician about all your vitamins and supplements in order to ensure you are not setting yourself up for additional health complications.

Schedule Your Appointment with a Fort Worth Primary Care Physician Today

At Primary Care Associates of Texas, we have served thousands of people like you. Our highly-trained and compassionate staff are here to help answer questions about your blood thinners or anticoagulants, diet, alcohol intake, and help address any other concerns you may have. Don’t wait until you are experiencing serious symptoms before addressing the problem—get in touch with a Forth Worth primary care doctor right away.

Schedule your first appointment with us by calling today.

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