Healthy Living | Pharmaceuticals

Blood Thinners and Dangerous Side Effects You Need to Know

Anticoagulants or blood thinners can save your life by preventing a heart attack or stroke caused by artery-blocking blood clots, but there are dangerous blood thinners side effects that you may not know about.

Each year, about 2 to 3 million people in the United States will need to take a blood thinning medication, according to the American Heart Association Blood thinners aid in preventing blood clots from forming or keeps existing clots from growing, which can prevent life-threatening heart attacks,strokes, and other blockages.

While the reasons for taking blood thinners vary from person to person, one thing is common to all people who take them — these medications can have dangerous and even fatal side effects or interactions.

What Makes Blood Thinners Dangerous?

While blood thinning medications can save lives by treating or preventing dangerous blood clots, they slow the clotting of blood which can cause serious, and potentially fatal bleeding, according to a new study.

The research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that blood thinners called non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOACs) can be significantly altered through interaction with other drugs. These drug interactions can not only lessen the NOACs’ effectiveness, but it can also increase a person’s risk of life-threatening bleeding.

“NOACs alone do not pose a significant risk of bleeding, but the concurrent use of NOACs with certain drugs that share the same metabolic pathways may cause increased risk of major bleeding,” said study lead researcher Dr. Shang-Hung Chang in the report.

Blood Thinners Side Effects Include Bleeding

Clotting of the blood is dangerous because such blockages can quickly cause severe circulation andheart problems. However, if you get cut, you want your body to clot the blood so you stop bleeding. Blood thinning medications will interfere with this process, potentially turning minor injuries into big problems.

Without proper clotting of the blood, the smallest of injuries can turn fatal, even a small cut runs the risk of not being able to stop bleeding. Without constant monitoring, many people discard seemingly minor injuries, but since the body can’t stop the bleeding while on blood thinners, fatal internal bleeding can occur.

How to Reduce the Risks of Blood Thinners

Anyone taking a blood thinner should be aware of a few precautions that can lower the risk of their medications turning a small problem into a larger one. According to the Cleveland Clinic, things like diet, the types of physical activity you do, proper dosing and monitoring for the blood thinner you’re taking and other medications can all affect your risk of blood thinner side effects.

The Mayo Clinic advises people who take blood thinners, such as Warfarin, to take extra precautions while on the medication. Taking steps like avoiding any sports or activities that could result in head injury, informing your doctor before any medical or dental procedures, and seeking a doctor’s advice before taking any new meds, may all help prevent blood thinners side effects.

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