What Causes A Heart Attack
Its important to understand the facts when it comes to heart attacks and what causes them. Many heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots that form in damaged blood vessels. These clots can break away and flow through the circulatory system to the heart or brain, causing heart attacks or strokes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 610,000 people in the U.S. pass due to cardiovascular disease each year. The American Heart Association reports that many heart attacks are caused by excessive blood clotting and 80 percent of people who have diabetes mellitus pass away due to clotting-related conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. People who have risk factors for excessive blood clotting may be prescribed anticoagulants or antiplatelets to reduce their risks of blood clots and the resulting cardiovascular events.
Plavix And Other Medications
Below are lists of medications that can interact with Plavix. These lists do not contain all the drugs that may interact with Plavix.
Before taking Plavix, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Plavix and certain proton pump inhibitors
Plavix can interact with certain other drugs that are metabolized by the same enzymes in your liver. For example, proton pump inhibitors are a class of drugs that are metabolized by the enzymes that break down Plavix. Taking these drugs with Plavix can make Plavix less effective for you. This may be dangerous to your health.
Examples of proton pump inhibitors that can decrease the effectiveness of Plavix include:
If youre taking one of the drugs listed above, talk with your doctor about whether its safe for you to use Plavix. They may recommend a different treatment so you can avoid this interaction.
Plavix and ibuprofen or other NSAIDs
Examples of NSAIDs that can increase your risk of bleeding include:
While youre using Plavix, talk with your doctor before you start taking any new medications, including pain relievers.
Plavix and warfarin or other blood thinners
Plavix and repaglinide
How Can I Take Blood Thinners Safely
When you take a blood thinner, follow the directions carefully. Blood thinners may interact with certain foods, medicines, vitamins, and alcohol. Make sure that your health care provider knows all of the medicines and supplements you are using.
You may need regular blood tests to check how well your blood is clotting. It is important to make sure that youre taking enough medicine to prevent clots, but not so much that it causes bleeding.
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What Happens If Blood Is Too Thin
What happens if blood is too thin? What happens when your blood is too thin. Having blood that is too thin means you are at a greater risk of internal bleeding. You should report any falls or accidents, as well as signs or symptoms of bleeding or unusual bruising to your healthcare provider. The most serious internal bleeding can happen in your stomach or head.
What are the reasons for thin blood? Causes. Thinblood, which is caused by having not enough platelets in the blood, is also known as thrombocytopenia. In some instances platelets are actually destroyed quicker than they are replaced. This can be due to an infection or pregnancy. Thrombocytopenia can also occur when the liver removes too many platelets,
Why is my blood so thin? This can happen with blood being too thin, a condition medically referred to as thrombocytopenia. Essentially what happens when your blood is too thin is that there arent enough platelets to allow the blood to work its clotting magic.
What Patients Need To Know About Blood Thinners
Blood thinners, or anticoagulants, can be a lifesaving medication for many people. They prevent blood from getting too thick and prevent clots from forming, which can reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. They can also help slow the growth of any existing clots.
There are many types of prescription blood thinnerssome that have been available for decades and some that are newer medications. A variety of factors can impact which blood thinner should be used, and your Oklahoma Heart Hospital physician will prescribe the best option for your specific needs. Some options for blood thinners include warfarin , Lovenox, Heparin, Pradaxa, Eliquis, and Xarelto.
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What To Do In Case Of Overdose
If you think youve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
You should take Plavix according to your doctors or another healthcare professionals instructions.
Lifestyle Risk Factors For Heart Attacks
The American Heart Association also identified several lifestyle risk factors that can contribute to the likelihood of suffering from a heart attack or strokes. A few common lifestyle factors that increase your risk include poor nutrition, smoking and tobacco use, sedentary lifestyles, and poor sleep.
The risk factors for heart attacks demonstrate that many people can prevent them by adopting healthier lifestyles. Considering taking blood thinners can also help to prevent blood clotting and eliminate a major cause of strokes and heart attacks. A combination of taking these types of medications in addition to making healthier lifestyle decisions can make a huge impact on decreasing your risk.
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Who Needs Blood Thinners
Blood thinners are prescribed for people who have an increased risk of heart attack or stroke due to an irregular heart rhythm, heart or blood vessel disease, deep vein thrombosis , or prior heart attack or stroke. The use of blood thinners can help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in these patients. Some patients take blood thinners only for a short time, while other patients may take a blood thinner daily for many years.
Important Safety Information & Indications
For people taking ELIQUIS for atrial fibrillation: Do not stop taking ELIQUIS without talking to the doctor who prescribed it for you. Stopping ELIQUIS increases your risk of having a stroke.
ELIQUIS may need to be stopped prior to surgery or a medical or dental procedure. Your doctor will when you should stop taking ELIQUIS and when you may start taking it again. If you have to stop taking ELIQUIS, your doctor may prescribe another medicine to help prevent a blood clot from forming.
ELIQUIS can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and rarely may lead to death. This is because ELIQUIS is a blood thinner medicine that reduces blood clotting.
You may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take ELIQUIS and take other medicines that increase your risk of bleeding, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , warfarin, heparin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , and other medicines to help prevent or treat blood clots. Tell your doctor about all of the medicines you take, including any over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
While taking ELIQUIS, you may bruise more easily and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop.
headaches, or feeling dizzy or weak
ELIQUIS is not for patients with artificial heart valves.
ELIQUIS is not for use in people with antiphospholipid syndrome , especially with positive triple antibody testing, who have a history of blood clots.
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How Is Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosed
To diagnose atrial fibrillation, your healthcare provider will first ask you some questions. Youll share information about your diet and physical activity, family history, any symptoms youve noticed and risk factors. Its OK if you dont know all the answers but share as much as you can. Your experiences and knowledge are essential tools to help your provider make a diagnosis. Your provider will then give you a physical exam that includes:
- Listening to your heart rhythm with a stethoscope.
- Checking your pulse and blood pressure.
- Checking the size of your thyroid gland to identify thyroid problems.
- Looking for swelling in your feet or legs to identify heart failure.
- Listening to your lungs to detect heart failure or infection.
This exam will help your provider understand your baseline health and how your body is functioning.
Tests to diagnose atrial fibrillation
In addition to the physical exam, your provider may run some tests to make an atrial fibrillation diagnosis. These tests include:
In some cases, your provider may want to check how your heart works in your daily life. If so, youll be asked to wear a Holter monitor or a portable event monitor to record your hearts activity.
An EKG records your hearts electrical impulses and can show if you have atrial fibrillation.
Better Atrial Fibrillation Risk Assessment
The newer afib risk calculator is more complex than the older one, says Day. Previously, the health risks that counted were congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, age, diabetes, and stroke. In contrast, the new risk calculator uses all of these and other factors to more accurately predict patients’ risks.
What the new afib risk calculator uses to help determine the best treatment options:
- Congestive heart failure: 1 point
- High blood pressure: 1 point
- Age 75 or higher: 1 point
- Diabetes: 1 point
- Age 65 or higher: 1 point
- Being female: 1 point
If your score is two or higher, you need a potent blood thinner. As you can see, if you are a woman and are 65 or older, then you automatically require a potent blood thinner, says Day.
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Left Atrial Appendage Closure: An Alternative Therapy
Some 90 percent of blood clots from AFib form in a small pouch in the heart, called the left atrial appendage. In patients who are poor candidates for blood thinners, doctors can implant a device that seals off the pouch and reduces the risk of stroke.
The minimally invasive procedure is called left atrial appendage closure. A permanent device is implanted with a catheter inserted through a vein in the leg. Over the next few months, tissue will grow over the device, permanently sealing off the left atrial appendage to prevent blood from reaching that area.
The left atrial appendage serves no known purpose. Just like you can live without your appendix, you can also live without your left atrial appendage, Dr. Filby says.
The procedure has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of AFib-related strokes and provides a promising alternative to blood thinners for many patients.
How Do Blood Thinners Work
In general, all blood thinners work by either blocking or inactivating part of the system that forms blood clots. These medications work by binding to proteins that are involved in either the coagulation cascade or to proteins on platelet surfaces.
Anticoagulant medications target the coagulation cascade, whereas antiplatelet medications target platelet activation.
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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Treating Atrial Fibrillation With Blood Thinners Understanding The Benefits And Risks
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My mother is in her 80s and was just diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Her doctor recommended a blood thinner, but I have read that blood thinners can be dangerous. What are the risks?
ANSWER:Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and rapid heart rate that often results in poor blood flow to the body. Symptoms often include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. During atrial fibrillation, the hearts two upper chambers, called atria, beat rapidly, chaotically, and out of sync with the two lower chambers, or ventricles. This abnormal heart rhythm may cause blood to pool in the atria and form clots. A blood clot that forms may break off and travel from your heart to your brain. There, it may block blood flow, causing a stroke. Blood clots from atrial fibrillation also may lodge in other blood vessels, cutting off blood flow to the kidney, leg, colon or other parts of the body.
Anticoagulantmedications, sometimes called blood thinners, can greatly lower the risk ofstroke and other damage due to blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation.By delaying blood clotting, anticoagulants make it hard for clots to form andprevent existing clots from growing.
Some warningsigns of complications while taking any anticoagulants are urine thats red ordark brown stool thats red, dark brown or black bleeding gums severeheadache or stomach pain that doesnt go away feeling weak, faint or dizzy and frequent bruising or blood blisters.
These Medications Don’t Actually Thin Your Blood But They Do Help Prevent Dangerous Clots
For many people with cardiovascular disease, drugs that discourage blood clots are potential lifesavers. If a blood clot lodges in an artery or vein, it can choke off the blood supply to the heart, brain, leg, or lung, with possibly dire consequences.
Not all clots are bad, of course. Clots help stanch bleeding if you’re injured. The trick with clot-preventing drugs commonly referred to as blood thinners is finding just the right balance between helpful and harmful clotting, says cardiologist Dr. Gregory Piazza, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
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- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
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Heart Rate Controlling Medications
- Beta blockers. These are drugs used to slow the heart rate. Most people can function and feel better if their heart rate is controlled. Read more about beta blockers.
- Some examples may include:
- Calcium channel blockers. These medications have multiple effects on the heart. They are used to slow the heart rate in patients with AFib and to reduce the strength of the muscle cells contraction.
- Some examples are:
Hypertension Meds: When Smaller Doses Are Better
Many people find blood pressure medications hard to tolerate, since side effects can include dry cough, stomach upset, dizziness, headache, and fatigue.
But the new study in the journal Hypertension suggests that smaller doses of multiple drugs work better and create fewer side effects than a large dose of a single drug.
When researchers analyzed results from over 42 studies of more than 20,000 people with high blood pressure, they found that combining two medications, each at a quarter dose, was just as effective as taking one blood pressure medication at a standard doseand taking four medications each at a quarter dose worked twice as well.
“This study confirms what many of us already anecdotally knew in our own practices: that lower doses of multiple medications are often the way to go, because it seems to reduce side effects, especially in women,” says Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of NYU Langone’s Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health.
The reason the approach may be so effective, theorizes Goldberg, is because it works on all the different aspects of hypertension: For example, an ACE inhibitor like lisinopril relaxes blood vessels, while a diuretic such as HCTZ gets rid of the extra salt and water in your body that can elevate your blood pressure.
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How Doctors Determine If You Should Take Blood Thinners
Patient preference is now a bigger factor than ever before in how we treat AFib. Every patient has different concerns, and we take those into consideration.
For example, if one of your relatives has had a stroke, you may be afraid of having one, too. A 1 percent chance of stroke may be enough for you to want to take blood thinners. On the other hand, you may have a 4 percent risk of stroke but have had a bleeding incident in the past, so you may not be in favor of taking blood thinners.
Its my responsibility as a cardiologist to explain your risks and benefits with each medication and help you make the best treatment decision for you. To help guide my recommendations, Ill calculate two scores for you:
- The CHA2DS2-VASc score measures your risk of stroke. Your blood pressure, age, and history of stroke and heart failure are all taken into account.
- The HAS-BLED score measures your bleeding risk. We look at your history of liver disease, kidney disease, low blood platelet counts, and other factors.
If you have AFib, ask your doctor what your CHA2DS2-VASc and HAS-BLED scores are and what that means for you personally. We can walk you through these types of decisions. To learn more, request an appointment online or call .
Blood Thinner Xarelto Cuts Risk Of Heart Attack Death In New Study
People recovering from a heart attack or heart-related chest pain are less likely to have another heart problem or to die from one if they take a new blood-thinning drug along with standard anti-clotting medicine, a large study shows.
The benefit came at the cost of an increased risk for serious bleeding. Still, some doctors said the drug, Xarelto, could become the standard of care for people hospitalized for these conditions. A low dose of the drug substantially cut the risk of dying of any cause during the study.
âMortality trumps everything,â so a medication that boosts survival is a win, said Dr. Paul Armstrong of the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
He had no role in the study, which was described Sunday at an American Heart Association meeting in Florida and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was sponsored by the drugâs makers â Johnson & Johnson and Bayer Healthcare â and some researchers work or consult for the companies.
Xarelto is approved now at higher doses for preventing strokes in people with a heart rhythm problem and for preventing blood clots after joint surgery. It works in a different way than do aspirin and older blood thinners.
After about a year, on average nearly 11 percent of those on just the usual medicines had suffered a heart attack, heart-related death or a stroke â versus less than 9 percent of those who got Xarelto at either dose.
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