Blood thinners are a type of medicine that are prescribed to allow smooth blood flow throughout the veins and arteries. They can prevent the formation of blood clots, and also prevent blood clots from expanding in size. Blood thinners are used to treat various types of heart disease and heart defects that can increase the chances of forming dangerous blood clots. There are different types of blood thinners, including:
Heparin (Fragmin, Innohep, and Lovenox)
Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
Blood thinners do not actually thin the blood, nor break up clots; they prevent the blood in your body from developing into new clots by slowing down the time it takes for a blood clot to form They can also slow the growth of existing blood clots. Certain anticoagulants compete with vitamin K in the liver, which the body needs to make clotting factors that help the blood cells and platelets bind together.
Blood clotting is not always bad. For example, when you cut yourself, that is what seals the wound and stops you from losing an excessive amount of blood. If you experience any of the following symptoms while taking blood thinners, inform your doctor:
Heavy menstrual periods
Blood in the stool or urine
Bleeding from your nose or gums
Vomiting and coughing up blood
Dizziness and fatigue
Severe headache or stomach ache
Notice: The above information is an educational aid only. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.