How Anticoagulants Ward Against Blood Clots

May 7th 2016

Blood clots form in the body following a combination of changes within the blood due to the presence of certain proteins and other factors. Most protein-related blood clots are referred to as platelet plugs. Blood clots are healthy when a laceration to the skin occurs, but when clots impede the flow of blood in the body, the results can be damaging or even fatal. There are, however, ways that doctors can help patients ward off blood clots.

Antiplatelets

Platelets in the blood stream release thromboxane. Thromboxane is what helps form clots to stop the bleeding in cuts and lacerations. This is detrimental in patients that have had a stroke or are at high risk for clotting disorders.

Antiplatelet treatments help prevent clots from forming that may cause life-threatening situations. In some cases, taking antiplatelet medication, such as aspirin, within two days of having a stroke can prevent additional health concerns, as well as death.

What Is an Anticoagulant?

The job of an anticoagulant is to slow the forming of clots in blood vessels. A chemical reaction in the body is what slows the forming of clots. Anticoagulants are often combined with mild antiplatelet treatments for better blood clot prevention.

Blood Thinner

Blood thinners, medically classified as anticoagulants, are both good and bad. Properly flowing blood throughout the body is vital, and some bodies need help doing so. The most common medications prescribed are Coumadin, also known as warfarin, and heparin.

If injectable blood thinners are prescribed, be sure to use varying injection sites to prevent scar tissue from forming. Consult a doctor about using a chart to help choose locations to prevent over usage of one specific area.

Risk Factors

Some risk factors are in place with anticoagulant and antiplatelet treatments. In some patients, small amounts of blood, often resembling coffee grounds, are found in the urine. Women that are pre-menopausal may experience irregular heavy bleeding during menstruation.

One of the most serious risk factors is purple toes syndrome, which is a condition where the toes gradually develop a bluish-purple tinge to them. This side effect typically surfaces between 3 to 8 weeks into warfarin use if it is going to manifest.

Reducing Liver Proteins

The liver is where most blood clots start. Protein is required for proper liver function; however, in those that have a history of or are at high risk for blood clots, protein levels should remain low. This helps the protein act as a natural anticoagulant in the body.

Higher liver protein levels can become a procoagulant, which promotes clotting. This is detrimental to those who are at a high risk for stroke, heart attack or blood clotting disorders.

Always speak with your doctor about blood clot prevention methods and the treatment of conditions that could lead to clotting. Also inquire about ways to reduce the common side effects of taking blood thinners, such as body swelling and frequent bruising. Aspirin is recommended by many physicians as a blood clot and heart attack prevention option, mostly in combination with high-risk patients. Those with family histories of blood clots and strokes should speak with their physician regarding blood clot prevention methods.

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