What Are Blood Clots
Coagulation or clotting occurs naturally in the body. A small cut usually will solidify the blood using natural coagulation. When a gelatinous semisolid mass of red blood cells, platelets and white blood cells are trapped in a fibrin network, unwanted clots can form in veins or in the lungs, as well as in arteries in the brain. Blood clots can cause heart attacks as well as other medical conditions. Anticoagulants are medications that help the body slow down its ability to form blood clots. Anticoagulants stop the formation of new blood clots and prevent existing clots from getting larger; they do not dissolve blood clots.
Blood clots form for several reasons. Surgeries as well as age play a role in creating blood clots. Obesity, broken bones, deep bruising and heart issues can cause blood clots in veins and arteries. There are other factors that create unwanted blood clotting and most of them are related to lack of exercise or an unhealthy diet. An anticoagulant called heparin is prescribed when a clot is diagnosed. Heparin is a blood thinner that works quickly, because it’s injected under the skin. Warfarin is another anticoagulant in pill form. It is usually prescribed with heparin. They are taken together for about a week and then the warfarin continues for 3 to 6 months after the heparin injections have stopped.
Anticoagulants Used To Prevent Blood Clotting
Heparin and warfarin are two common anticoagulants used to prevent clotting. Lovenox is another blood thinner used to prevent the blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis, which can cause blood clots in the lungs. Lovenox also is used to prevent blood vessel issues in people who have chest pains or who have had a certain types of heart attack called non-Q-wave myocardial infraction. Lovenox may be used when other medical conditions exist. Fragmin, which is a low molecular weight heparin, is also used as an anticoagulant. Fragmin injections are used before surgery and it is used to reduce the risk of blood clotting in cancer and heart patients. Fragmin is also called dalteparin and dalteparin sodium. Innohep is also considered a low molecular weight heparin and is administered by injections. Innohep is prescribed with warfarin to treat acute deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot that can occur in the legs. If these clots are not treated using innohep or another blood thinner they could break loose and travel to lungs and cause pulmonary embolism, which means the clot gets lodged in the pulmonary artery.
Signs and Symptoms To Warrant Anticoagulant Use
Obvious signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis only show up in about 40% of the people who develop the condition. Some of the early signs include swelling and pain in one or both legs and occasionally the pain may be in an arm. The skin temperature and the sensitivity of the affected area increase, compared to other areas on the legs or arms. Redness or a bluish discoloration, as well as slight pain when the foot is pulled upward, or tenderness in a calf are all signs that a blood clot may exist and should be treated. Some of these symptoms are signs of arthritis, blood clots in the arteries, varicose veins and bone fractures, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
If you are using anticoagulants in any form its important to maintain a balanced diet and not change it without consulting a physician. Binge, crash diets and alcohol should be avoided. Foods high in vitamin K do have an affect on anticoagulants. It also a good idea to carry an ID card or wear a bracelet indicating anticoagulant use, especially when traveling.