Anticoagulant medicines are the ones that work by preventing the formation of blood clots inside your body. They are given to prevent thrombosis and embolism.
Your healthcare provider will prescribe you the anticoagulants when you stay in the same position like after surgery, your blood may form a clot due to inactivity, or if you have had a myocardial infarction. It is done so that your blood does not form a clot inside your body. If a clot is formed inside your body, the blood circulation to a certain organ is affected.
If a blood clot remains untreated for a long time, it can lead to organ failure because the blood supply is disrupted. When the blood supply to the brain or heart is stopped, it results in a stroke and a myocardial infarction respectively.
Anticoagulants are given if you have heart disease. They help prevent new blood clots from forming and the smaller ones from getting big. The downside of using the anticoagulant is that it may cause bleeding. It happens because when you bleed, normally, your body activates the clotting cascade that helps form a clot and stops the bleeding. But when you take anticoagulants, the clot may not form easily, and the chances for bleeding increase many times.
People having heart disease should take anticoagulants as prescribed by their healthcare provider. If you have got any heart disease, you should attend visits with your doctor. For an expert opinion, you can consult with the Best Cardiologist in Karachi.
What Are The Types of Anticoagulants?
There are two types of anticoagulants. The first class is called blood thinners. They work by preventing blood clotting or prevention solid clumps from forming. The example of blood thinners are:
The second type of anticoagulant is antiplatelet agents. They work by preventing the clumping of platelets together. To stop bleeding, the platelet aggregation hence forming a platelet plug. The common examples of antiplatelet drugs are:
How Does Blood Thinner Work?
Blood thinners do not cause your blood to become thin. Instead, they work by affecting the clotting cascade and the production of proteins that help in blood clotting.
Blood thinners can not break the pre-existing clots. However, they can prevent the formation of new ones and the smaller ones from turning to bigger sizes.
Some anticoagulants work by competing with vitamin K- which helps in clot formation.
Antiplatelet agents prevent the clumping of platelets together and to the wall of blood vessels. They have less potent effects than anticoagulants. Mostly they are prescribed to the patients having a risk of developing blood clots in the future rather than those already having it.
Who Needs It?
Anticoagulants can be used in various health conditions when the person is at risk of developing blood clots. They may be indicated in conditions:
- If you have a heart or blood vessel disease
- Irregular heart rhythm
- Deep vein thrombosis
- If you are overweight or obese
- If you have an artificial heart valve
- If you are pregnant and have any heart disease
They are also prescribed if you have atrial fibrillation. It can then help in preventing stroke- a serious complication of blood clots.
You may need to take anticoagulants for a little time. But sometimes, you may need to take it for a long time, depending on your health condition.
What is The Risk of Taking Anticoagulants?
Your healthcare providers will prescribe anticoagulants based on the risk versus benefit ratio. They are prescribed to protect you from life-threatening complications of a blood clot. But they carry a risk factor of causing bleeding. Therefore you need to be extra vigilant with its therapy.
Examine your body for any bruise or swelling. If you notice one, consult with a healthcare provider soon. If you take anticoagulants, you should attend follow-up visits with your doctor. To get an expert opinion, you can visit Medicare Cardiac & General Hospital.