Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, are one of the most prescribed medications to keep the blood flowing freely. The daily use of these drugs can prevent a heart attack or stroke. They are very effective at dissolving existing clots and preventing new ones from forming. The only problem is that these medications can cause brain bleeds among other things. Those taking these medicines cannot eat food that may interfere, which is leafy greens like spinach and kale. Is it possible that these drugs that seem so beneficial are doing more harm than good?
New Medications Bring Reduced Side Effects
Warfarin, which is also known as Coumadin, has had a monopoly in the market. However, newer drugs like Pradaxa and Eliquis show a reduced risk of brain bleeds. Though these drugs have only been around for about the past decade, The American College of Cardiology shows that they are just as effective and less risky.
In 2017, a study was conducted to see how the new drugs fared compared to the old. The results were shocking. The risk of a brain bleed reduces by up to 50 percent while using the newer medications. Additionally, taking the new line of blood thinners don’t require any dietary alterations. While the kidneys and liver will still need to be checked a couple of times each year, the number of people affected with disrupted function is negligible.
Four Smart Steps For Taking Blood Thinners
Before beginning any blood thinner regimen, the following four steps should be done.
- Use the Right Dosage
Though these medications come in a standard dose, they should be lowered for those that have problems with their kidneys or liver. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology did a study that found more than 15 percent of users take the wrong dose.
- Take Them at The Same Time Each Day
The effects of these drugs rapidly wear off, so it’s essential that they are taken at the same time each day. Never double up on a dose if one is missed.
- Always Tell the Doctor About Any Reported Side Effects
There is a risk involved with using any of these drugs, and the risks can be fatal. Those patients that take antidepressant medications are at a higher risk for bleeding. Never take aspirin or ibuprofen with anticoagulants.
- Be Wary of Activities
Those using blood thinners must be wise when engaging in activities. Avoid contact sports and things that can cause significant bleeding. Emergency surgery can be a nightmare when a person takes blood thinners. So it’s best to avoid any activity that could have deadly consequences.
As with any medication, the benefits often outweigh the risks. It’s important to follow the doctor’s orders and keep open communication with them to ensure that treatment with these prescriptions is successful.