Blood thinners are not as rare these days as you might think – up to 3 million people need to take blood thinning medication in the US each year. Also known as anti-platelet drugs or anticoagulants, blood thinners affect your body’s ability to form blood clots and as such are used in cases of serious health conditions, disorders and diseases, such as:
- Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT
- Pulmonary embolism, or PE
- Blood clotting disorders
- Autoimmune diseases and disorders
- Prevention of blood clot formation after surgery
- Prevention of blood clot formation after a heart attack or stroke
- Prevention of blood clot formation when a patient received a mechanical heart valve
The two main types of blood thinners – anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs – function on different chemical reactions and it’s always the decision of the medical professional to make sure which one is the most affective for your individual situation.
Anticoagulants such as warfarin or Coumadin are usually taken in the form of a pill, whereas heparin comes in the form of an injection. Antiplatelet medication, such as aspirin, typically comes in the form of a pill and will prevent your platelets from forming a clot.
Blood thinners are a very effective tool in treating various diseases and disorders that would otherwise be fatal for a human being. Finding the right dose and avoiding possible side effects can be tricky though, and it’s absolutely necessary to follow doctor’s instructions carefully to gain the most benefits and prevent excessive bruising or bleeding – the most usual side effects of taking blood thinners!