Blood Clot | Dr. Jim Rybacki
While it is natural for our blood to clot in order to repair damage to certain areas of the body, it’s when a blood clot develops within the veins or arteries and blocks blood flow that this becomes a serious issue. Smokers, as well as those with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes are at an increased risk for developing blood clots. Symptoms of a blood clot will differ depending on where it’s located in the body. Sometimes pain and swelling are present, while other times something as serious as a stroke or heart attack can occur.
If a doctor has diagnosed you with a blood clot the type of medication you’ll receive will depend on where the blood clot is located. More often than not, the most common medication used to treat a blood clot is an anticoagulant medication, also known as a blood thinner. Anticoagulants are designed to treat and even prevent blood clots from forming or getting larger, particularly within certain organs of the body such as the heart and brain.
By prescribing an anticoagulant this can reduce a patient’s risk of clots, which can also prevent certain serious and even fatal health problems such as:
- Heart attack
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
When it comes to any medication it is important to understand the benefits and risks involved. As with any medication, some patients may experience some side effects. The most common side effect of taking an anticoagulant is bleeding. You may notice that your gums bleed more easily. You may notice blood in your urine or in your stool. If you injure yourself you may also bleed more severely and develop serious bruising.
Other potential side effects of taking an anticoagulant medication include:
- Abdominal pain
- Hair loss
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
- Chest pain
If you are concerned about any symptoms you are experiencing while taking your anticoagulant you should talk to your doctor right away. Before starting your medication you and your doctor will also want to sit down and discuss any other supplements or medications you are taking, as they could interact with your medication. Certain medications that could adversely interact with anticoagulants include:
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (e.g. ibuprofen)
- Garlic and ginkgo (can increase bleeding)
Talk to your doctor beforehand about any medications and even herbal supplements you are taking before starting your anticoagulant medication. If you have questions about blood clot medication don’t hesitate to call our pharmacist Dr. James Rybacki, who is dedicated to providing patients with the answers they need to know to understand exactly how their medications work. Our goal is to prevent medication misuse whenever possible.