Taking blood thinners is a serious undertaking and there are many important factors to consider if your doctor prescribes these drugs to you. They are given for a variety of circumstances from heart disease to blood clot risks.
If your doctor gives you blood thinners, be sure to thoroughly discuss their proper use. Find out any recommendations for the time of day and how to take them. Some blood thinners require you to take aspirin at the same time, so it is important to fully understand their use.
Discuss your family history at the start. Blood thinners may increase the risk of stroke and other internal bleeding, so if you or your family has a history of strokes, discuss this with your doctor before taking your blood thinners. Your risks may influence the type of drug and care you need.
While on blood thinners, you may be very prone to bruising. You will likely find bruises all over your body and you may not remember how you got them. Seemingly harmless bumps against a wall, hitting your elbows or knees and other encounters with objects can cause bruises that normally would not occur. Often these bruises will not cause lasting harm, but it is important to keep an eye on them. If you experience a bruise that is especially dark or puffy, consult your doctor right away. This could be a sign of internal bleeding, or even clotting risks that your blood thinners are supposed to protect against.
You will also experience increased or prolonged bleeding if you are cut. Have a good supply of bandages at all times for day to day cuts, since it will take longer for your cuts to close up.
It is very important that you inform all healthcare providers that you are taking blood thinners, even your dentist. Even a simple injection from your doctor could pose a problem, and any surgery is especially dangerous. If you are to undergo any procedure that cuts or pierces your skin, you will likely have to go off of your prescription for a certain amount of time beforehand. Also, ask your doctor when you should resume taking the drugs after a procedure.
Be sure to watch the dosage of your blood thinners. Taking more than your doctor prescribes could be very dangerous and greatly increases your risks of bleeding and bruising. Make sure the label matches your dosage at every refill. Mistakes can happen and could be deadly. If you have trouble remembering if you have taken your pill, get a pillbox with separate compartments and fill them with all your prescriptions for the week. This will ensure that if you forget, you can just check the pill box to see if you have taken your daily dose.
Consult often with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns. Blood thinners should be taken very seriously and you should be fully informed to ensure your good health.