Tuesday, February 27, 2024

What To Do If You Fall While On Blood Thinners

Why Would I Need To Take These Medications

Blood Thinners: Staying Active and Healthy (update)

When blood clots work like theyre supposed to, they form at the site of an injury that needs repair and they stay put. However, when clots don’t stay in one place or form in your bloodstream, they can be extremely dangerous. If a clot is too large, it can get stuck in a smaller blood vessel. If that smaller blood vessel is in a critical location, it can block blood flow that one of your organs needs to survive.

Blockages from blood clots can cause the following deadly events:

  • Stroke. Blood clots are particularly dangerous if they travel up to your brain, where they can easily get stuck in the smaller blood vessels.
  • Pulmonary embolism . This occurs when a blood clot gets stuck and blocks an artery in your lungs. If the blockage is severe enough, a pulmonary embolism can be deadly.
  • Heart attack . These occur when arteries that supply blood to your heart become blocked. These can also be deadly.

Anticoagulants can protect individuals who have a condition or disease that could cause them to have any of the above clot-related events.

Some of those conditions include:

How Do They Work

Your body is constantly balancing clotting and anti-clotting processes. If your blood doesn’t clot enough, an injury can cause severe blood loss or even death. If it clots too much, it can cause the dangerous medical events mentioned above. Certain blood components keep your clotting processes in an inactive state. That way, your body can activate them quickly when you have an injury that needs repair.

Thanks to that balancing act, clotting is usually a helpful process. It stops bleeding, creates a protective covering to keep germs and debris out of a wound, and then rebuilds the skin so its good as new .

Anticoagulants work by interfering with the normal clotting processes. Just like their name suggests, they prevent or undo coagulation, the process where your blood solidifies to form a clot. Depending on the type of anticoagulant, the clotting process disruption happens in different ways.

IV and injectable medications

Heparin and its derivatives

Heparin is a medication that inhibits clotting by activating your body’s anti-clotting processes. One of the anticlotting processes uses a type of blood protein called antithrombin. Heparin works by activating antithrombin, and then antithrombin keeps other parts of the clotting process from working normally.

Heparin comes in two different types, and there is a third medication that is closely related:

Direct thrombin inhibitors

Oral medications

Warfarin

Direct oral anticoagulants

Ways To Prevent Bleeding Risks

If youre taking blood thinners, following these steps can reduce your risk for potentially serious bleeding:

1. Follow your treatment plan to a T. Be sure you’re taking your medication exactly as directed by your doctor. If you dont take enough of the blood thinner, it might not be able to prevent a clot. But if you take too much, it can increase your risk for bleeding even further, according to the American Heart Association . Typically, the AHA recommends that people on blood thinners should have their blood monitored on a monthly basis.

2. Avoid taking drugs that can increase your risk of heavy bleeding. That includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil and Motrin , and Aleve , says , associate staff member in the section of vascular medicine at the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Some supplements also can increase your risk of bleeding, says Dr. Gomes. St. Johns wort is one theres also some concern that high doses of omega-3 supplements can make blood thinners more potent, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you haven’t done so already, tell your doctor about every dietary supplement you are currently using and consult with him or her before taking any new ones even if those products are labeled as safe or all natural.

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How To Take Your Blood Thinner

Always take your blood thinner as directed. For example, some blood thinners need to be taken at the same time of day, every day.

Never skip a dose, and never take a double dose.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you dont remember until the next day, call your doctor for instructions. If this happens when your doctor is not available, skip the missed dose and start again the next day. Mark the missed dose in a diary or on a calendar.

A pillbox with a slot for each day may help you keep track of your medicines.

When You’re Taking A Blood Thinner Which Of These Is Least Risky

Tattoo On Blood Thinners

You want to avoid anything that could make you bleed. Some things are obvious: Be careful when you use sharp things such as knives, scissors, and razors.

Others you may need to think about: To keep your gums from bleeding, try a soft toothbrush and waxed dental floss. Don’t use toothpicks. Always wear shoes outdoors. Put on gloves while gardening and using tools.

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When To Call Your Healthcare Provider

  • Bleeding that doesnt stop in 10 minutes

  • A heavier-than-normal menstrual period or bleeding between periods

  • Coughing or throwing up blood

  • Bloody diarrhea or bleeding hemorrhoids

  • Dark-colored urine or black stools

  • Red or black-and-blue marks on the skin that get larger

  • Dizziness or fatigue

  • Chest pain or trouble breathing

Blood Thinners And Dental Care

Many dental patients are taking blood thinner medications for various medical conditions to prevent the formation of potentially harmful blood clots . However, these medications interfere with the bodys normal clotting mechanism to stop blood flow at a site of tissue injury, which is of concern to dentists for procedures that cause bleeding.

There are two main processes by which the body normally forms a blood clot. The first involves small blood cells called platelets which clump together at the wound to form a plug which slows the flow of blood through the vessel and forms a matrix. The next phase is coagulation when proteins in the blood interact with each other to fill in the spaces between the platelets, stabilize the clot, and make it more solid until bleeding stops.

Antiplatelet medication target the first phase of clot formation by preventing platelets from sticking to each other and to the blood vessel walls. Aspirin does this by creating permanent changes in the platelets which last throughout the lifetime of the platelet which can only be reversed as the body produces new platelets that have not been exposed to the medication.

Some Dental ProceduresScaling and root planning Periodontal surgeryBiopsies

Preparations for dental procedure

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT BLOOD THINNER MEDICATIONS

Additional Information May be Obtained from the American Heart Association

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Keep These Tips In Mind If You Take Any Blood Thinner

1. Don’t double up on doses. Ask your doctor what you should do if you accidentally miss a dose of your blood thinner.

2. Be more careful when you exercise or are doing activities. “Even a trivial cut is going to bleed a lot on these medications,” says Molly Cooke, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco.

3. Wear gloves when you use sharp objects like scissors, knives, and gardening tools.

4. Switch to an electric razor.

5. Wear shoes as often as possible — always when you mow the lawn or garden.

6. Use a soft toothbrush and waxed dental floss to clean your teeth.

7. If your doctor says you can do sports like biking or skiing, wear a helmet. But “tackle football is out,” says Natalie Evans, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic — even with a helmet.

8. Wear a medical alert bracelet in case you’re in an accident and can’t talk. Keep a note in your wallet, purse, or phone that lists the medications you take.

9. If you fall or get hit hard, call your doctor or go to the hospital right away, even if there’s no blood. A bruise anywhere on your body means you’re bleeding beneath the skin. And a head injury can cause bleeding under your skull.

10. Make sure any doctor who prescribes medication for you knows you’re taking a blood thinner. Ask them to look up the drug interactions. For warfarin especially, the list is long. It may be hard to remember them all without looking.

Food And Your Blood Thinner

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If your doctor has prescribed warfarin, the foods you eat can affect how well your blood thinner works for you. High amounts of vitamin K can work against warfarin. Other blood thinners are not affected by vitamin K. Ask your doctor if your diet can affect how well your blood thinner works.

For a list of foods that contain vitamin K, go to www.usda.gov and search for vitamin K.

If you are taking a blood thinner, you should avoid drinking alcohol.

Keep your diet the same.Do not make any major changes in your diet or start a weight loss plan unless you talk to your doctor first.

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Do Drink Plenty Of Water While Taveling

Dehydration causes blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, raising the risk for blood clots. So staying well-hydrated improves circulation, according to the American Heart Association.

Whats more, having a full bladder will prompt you to get up regularly to use the restroom, helping prevent long periods of sitting, Zimring adds.

Always Carry Your Anticoagulation Alert Card With You

When you first start taking an anticoagulant you may receive a pack from your doctor or clinic with an anticoagulation alert card. Remember to carry the anticoagulation alert card wherever you go, including when you are travelling. This is very important! If you are ever in an emergency situation, your alert card will tell the person treating you that you are on an anticoagulant. They will know what to do when treating you.1,4

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Medical Conditions And Anticoagulants

Before starting a blood thinner, be sure your doctor knows if you have any of these conditions:

  • Stomach ulcer now or in the past

  • Vomited blood or had bloody stools

  • Aneurysm, pericarditis, or pericardial effusion

  • Recent surgery, stroke, mini-stroke, or spinal puncture

  • Kidney or liver disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, vasculitis, heart failure, lupus, or other collagen-vascular disease, or high cholesterol

  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding

  • Younger than 18 years old

  • Recent or planned dental procedure

Talk To Your Other Doctors

Senior Care Corner

Because you take a blood thinner, you will be seen regularly by the doctor who prescribed the medicine. You may also see other doctors for different problems. When you see other doctors, it is very important that you tell them you are taking a blood thinner. You should also tell your dentist and the person who cleans your teeth.

If you use different pharmacies, make sure each pharmacist knows that you take a blood thinner.

Blood thinners can interact with medicines and treatments that other doctors might prescribe for you. If another doctor orders a new medicine for you, tell the doctor who ordered your blood thinner because dose changes for your blood thinner may be needed.

Tell all your doctors about every medication and over-the-counter product that you take.

Tell your doctor about all your medicines.Always tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking. Tell your doctor when you start taking new medicine, when you stop taking a medicine, and if the amount of medicine you are taking changes. When you visit your doctor, bring a list of current medicines, over-the-counter drugssuch as aspirinand any vitamins and herbal products you take. A personal, medication wallet card can help you keep track of this list. Go to www.ahrq.gov/yourmedicine/ to download a printable wallet card that you can use to record the medicine and other products that you take.

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How To Tell If The Bleeding Is An Emergency

When you’re taking a blood thinner, says Gomes, you may bruise more easily and may also notice bleeding around your gums after brushing your teeth. In most cases, bleeding caused by blood thinners is not serious, according to the NBCA. If you get a minor cut while working in the yard or the kitchen, the bleeding might last longer than usual. You could also experience frequent nosebleeds that last for several minutes. Though frustrating and inconvenient, these occurrences aren’t life-threatening.

However, blood thinners can cause dangerous bleeding that requires immediate medical attention, says Gomes. Major bleeding complications include internal bleeding in the stomach, bowel, or brain, he says. “This could be life-threatening, he adds. Intracranial hemorrhage is the most feared complication. And, Haut notes, the damage caused by bleeding in the brain may be irreversible.

So, in addition totaking steps to prevent bleeding, it’s also important to recognize the warning signs of this potentially serious side effect:

  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Coughing up anything red in color
  • Severe headache or stomachache
  • Blood in the urine or bowel movements

How Commonly Are Anticoagulants Prescribed

Anticoagulants are commonly prescribed medications. This is especially true thanks to the approval of several newer drugs, which you take by mouth, within the past 10 years. In the United States, more than 5 million individuals covered by Medicare Part D received a prescription for an anticoagulant medication in 2019. In addition, about one-third of all hospital patients receive some form of anticoagulant medication.

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Signs And Symptoms To Watch For

If you fall, have a traumatic injury or experience any of the following symptoms while taking a blood thinner, call your surgeon right away:

  • Bleeding or oozing from your surgical wound.
  • Blood in your urine or stool.
  • Coughing or vomiting blood.
  • Excessive bleeding when brushing your teeth.
  • Spontaneous bruising .
  • Swelling in your thigh, calf or ankle that does not go away if you lie down with your feet elevated above your heart.
  • Pain and tenderness in the calf of either leg.
  • Dizziness, numbness or tingling.

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Youre most likely to get a clot between 2 and 10 days after your surgery, but your odds are higher for about 3 months.

How long does a heparin shot last?

The anticoagulant action is immediate following intravenous injection and is effective for three to six hours. Following deep subcutaneous injection absorption is variable among patients, although onset of activity is between 20 and 60 minutes. Heparin is extensively bound to plasma proteins.

How long does it take for apixaban to wear off?

Apixaban begins to reduce blood clotting within a few hours after taking the first dose. If you stop taking apixaban, its effects on clotting begin to wear off within 24 hours for most people.

What is the best time to take apixaban?

Take apixaban exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is taken twice a day, preferably in the morning and the evening. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you which strength of tablet is right for you as there are two strengths of apixaban available 2.5 mg and 5 mg.

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How To Recognize The Symptoms Of A Blood Clot In A Leg After An Injury

Fortunately, there are many signs that can help you identify whether you have a clot in your leg following an injury. Speak with your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Theres swelling in the injured leg
  • The skin around the injured area is warm to the touch
  • You can feel that veins are hard or sore when you touch them

Additionally, while these may be less obviously connected to your injury, keep a watchful eye out for chest pains or shortness of breath, as these potential signs of a clot also warrant a visit to the doctor.

Treatment For A Blood Clot After A Slip And Fall

If you have been diagnosed with blood clots, your doctor will want to begin treatment as quickly as possible.

Most likely, as a part of your treatment, you will be prescribed an anticoagulant medication, also known as a blood thinner. Some of the common types of anticoagulants used to treat blood clots are:

  • Heparin. This form of blood thinner is very strong and fast-acting. It is typically administered through a needle in a vein but can also be given by injecting it under the skin. Its effects work almost instantly, and it is generally administered in a hospital setting.
  • Low-molecular-weight heparins . LMWH is very similar to heparin. This form of anticoagulant is not as strong and can be taken at home through self-injection.
  • Warfarin. This anticoagulant is used as a long-term medication that is administered through pill form. It takes longer to take effect, usually five to seven days.

Additionally, your doctor may suggest other types of treatments, such as:

  • Compression stockings. These tight-fitting stockings go over your legs and may prevent blood clots from forming.
  • Surgery. A surgeon may insert a catheter to dissolve a clot, remove a clot, or implant a stent or inferior vena cava filter to prevent pulmonary embolisms.

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Afib And Blood Thinners

Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm disorder that may increase your risk of stroke. With AFib, the upper two chambers of your heart beat irregularly. Blood may pool and collect, creating clots that can travel to your organs and brain.

Doctors often prescribe anticoagulants, or blood thinners, to thin the blood and prevent clots from forming.

Heres what you need to know about long-term blood thinner use, any side effects you might experience, and what you may want to discuss with a doctor.

60% . Because AFib doesnt have many symptoms, some people feel they dont want or need to take blood thinners, especially if it means taking a drug for the rest of their lives.

While blood thinners dont necessarily change how you feel on a day-to-day basis, they help protect you against stroke.

You may encounter several types of blood thinners as part of treatment for AFib. These may include:

  • Warfarin : Doctors have traditionally prescribed warfarin for people with AFib. It reduces your bodys ability to make vitamin K. Without vitamin K, the liver has trouble making blood clotting proteins.
  • Direct oral anticoagulants : Doctors typically dont recommend these medications for people with AFib unless the person has moderate to severe mitral stenosis or an artificial heart valve. They may include:

Doctors use a set of guidelines to determine what kind of blood thinner may be best for you.

  • increased risk of bleeding
  • increased risk of bleeding significantly from small cuts

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