On Blood Thinners? Heed These 4 Special Precautions


nov22-1A blood clot develops when proteins in your blood bind your blood cells, or platelets, that are stuck together, forming a solid mass. When cuts or scrapes occur, these clots are beneficial. But ones in your blood vessels can block your circulation. Those forming in arteries or your heart can halt vital blood flow and cause a heart attack. If a clot clogs your brain’s blood vessels, a stroke may follow.

Prolonged inactivity, pregnancy, and dehydration can increase your deep vein thrombosis (DVT) risk. Platelets adhere to damaged blood vessels in a vein that’s deep inside your body. Most often, DVTs impede blood flow in lower legs and thighs, causing pain, swelling, and reddish warm skin. An embolism is a clot that breaks away, moves to a different body area, and blocks blood flow to one of your major organs. Severe damage and death are possible.

Treatment Options

Like over 2 million patients, you may need a daily blood thinner to break up harmful blood clots, stop them from enlarging, or prevent their development. Lifesaving treatments include antiplatelet drugs like oral Clopidogrel, generic Plavix. Prefilled Lovenox (Enoxaparin) syringes contain anticoagulants. Many people are concerned about how these maintenance prescriptions that increase bleeding risks will impact their lifestyles. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recommends the four BEST ways to make taking your blood thinner a safe and easy daily habit.

  1. B

    e more careful.

  2. E

    at the right foods.

  3. S

    tick to your medication routine.

  4. T

    est your blood regularly.

1. Be More Careful: Make Personal Safety a Priority

Extra caution is crucial because various work and household duties, hobbies, and sports may lead to accidents that can cause bleeding.

To prevent indoor injuries:

  • Handle sharp objects like scissors and knives carefully.
  • Replace a razor that has sharp blades with an electric one.
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush.
  • Choose dental floss with a wax coating.
  • Avoid toothpicks.
  • At home, wear house or street shoes to avoid falls.
  • Cut your fingernails and toenails carefully.

Prevent outdoor injuries by:

  • Wearing closed shoes.
  • Manipulating sharp tools in gloved hands.
  • Using a protective helmet when bike riding.
  • Avoiding activities and that might cause injuries.
  • Wearing protective gloves and sturdy shoes for gardening and yard work.
Additional safeguards:

Continue favorite hobbies if you protect yourself from accidents. Typical safe activities include walking and swimming. Get your doctor’s approval before starting any new physical activities. Consider wearing a medical alert necklace or bracelet. It will advise health care professionals that you’re on a blood thinner if you sustain an injury that renders you speechless.

2. Eat the Right Foods: Modify Your Diet

nov22-2Some foods and beverages can reduce or increase the blood-thinning properties of your antiplatelet or anticoagulant drug. Your doctor can advise which dietary choices to cut back or eliminate based on your specific medication.

Typical troublemakers:

Reduce or avoid green tea, alcohol, cranberry juice, and cranberries.

Vitamin K:

This fat-soluble vitamin supplies proteins that are necessary to form blood clots, so high amounts may counteract your medicine’s benefits. The recommend daily vitamin K amount is 65 to 80 mcg for adults. Exceeding that quantity may increase your bleeding risk. Keep your limited portion size and frequency consistent like every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday dinner. Cooking may increase vitamin K content. Reduce your consumption of these foods with medium to high vitamin K levels:

  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Greens including collard, turnip, and mustard
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Green onions
  • Endive
  • Parsley
Safe low-vitamin-K alternatives:

Enjoy healthy vegetables including iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, peppers, cucumbers, squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Salicylates:

The salicylate content in paprika, curry, thyme, rosemary, pickles, ketchup, and mustard thins your blood by blocking vitamin K. Ingesting this chemical with some medications multiplies their blood-thinning power.

Omega-3 fatty acids:

Despite the heart-health benefits of fatty, cold-water fish like salmon, halibut, mackerel, and sardines, omega-3s can increase your bleeding risk. Other sources are walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, and oils including canola, flaxseed, and soybean.

Other safety measures:

Consult your doctor before making any significant diet or weight-loss changes. Contact him if you can’t eat for multiple days or you contract a fever, infection, or flu. Also call whenever diarrhea or vomiting goes beyond 24 hours. Your physician may need to adjust your medication dosage when your health and routine are in flux.

3. Stick to Your Medication Routine

Taking your blood-thinning medicine according to your doctor’s directions is vital. Some require administration at the exact same time every day. Avoid skipping or repeating any dose by mistake. If you ever miss one, replace it quickly. If you discover your lapse the following day, ask your physician for instructions. When he isn’t available, resume your regular schedule with your next dose. Make a list of every missed dose. Using a divided pillbox with daily sections and smartphone alarms can help increase your medication compliance.

4. Test Your Blood Regularly

Your doctor will use a special blood test to measure how quickly your blood clots and determine your appropriate medication dosage. Repeating it periodically will allow him to make any necessary adjustments. Too much medication can cause excess bleeding while not enough increases your blood clot risk, so taking the correct amount is critical.