What Do I Ask The Doctor
When you visit the doctor, it helps to have questions written down ahead of time. You can also ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes.
Print this list of questions and take it to your next appointment.
- Am I at high risk for heart attack and stroke?
- What do my cholesterol numbers mean?
- What do my blood pressure numbers mean?
- Do you recommend that I take a statin to help reduce my risk for heart attack and stroke? Why or why not?
- What are the possible dangers or side effects of taking statins?
- Can you give me some information about statins to take home with me?
- What else can I do to lower my risk of heart attack and stroke?
If your doctor recommends that you take a statin, you might want to ask these questions, too.
- How often will I take the medicine?
- Will I need to take the medicine for the rest of my life?
- Could statins cause problems with any other medicines I take?
- How will I know if the medicine is working?
Content last updated
What Patients Need To Know About Blood Thinners
Blood thinners, or anticoagulants, can be a lifesaving medication for many people. They prevent blood from getting too thick and prevent clots from forming, which can reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. They can also help slow the growth of any existing clots.
There are many types of prescription blood thinnerssome that have been available for decades and some that are newer medications. A variety of factors can impact which blood thinner should be used, and your Oklahoma Heart Hospital physician will prescribe the best option for your specific needs. Some options for blood thinners include warfarin , Lovenox, Heparin, Pradaxa, Eliquis, and Xarelto.
Signs Of A Heart Attack
If you fall in the high risk category when it comes to heart attacks, its important to be educated on the first symptoms of a heart attack so you know what to expect if it happens. According to the CDC, the major symptom of a heart attack is pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes. This pain will feel like pressure, squeezing, or fullness.
Another common symptom is feeling weak, light-headed or faint. You may also experience pain in other areas such as the jaw, neck, back, one or both arms, or shoulders. Those suffering from a heart attack may also experience shortness of breath alongside their chest discomfort.
Shutterstock/5 second Studio
Recommended Reading: Can Flonase Cause Heart Palpitations
Which Is Healthier Aspirin Or Xarelto
Earlier this 12 months, the result of the EINSTEIN CHOICE trial discovered that Xarelto was once more practical than aspirin at fighting recurrent blood clots, with no increase in bleeding risk in patients with venous thromboembolism , but a secondary stroke prevention indication would have represented a greater opportunity.
Blood Thinner Xarelto Cuts Risk Of Heart Attack Death In New Study
People recovering from a heart attack or heart-related chest pain are less likely to have another heart problem or to die from one if they take a new blood-thinning drug along with standard anti-clotting medicine, a large study shows.
The benefit came at the cost of an increased risk for serious bleeding. Still, some doctors said the drug, Xarelto, could become the standard of care for people hospitalized for these conditions. A low dose of the drug substantially cut the risk of dying of any cause during the study.
“Mortality trumps everything,” so a medication that boosts survival is a win, said Dr. Paul Armstrong of the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
He had no role in the study, which was described Sunday at an American Heart Association meeting in Florida and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was sponsored by the drug’s makers – Johnson & Johnson and Bayer Healthcare – and some researchers work or consult for the companies.
Xarelto is approved now at higher doses for preventing strokes in people with a heart rhythm problem and for preventing blood clots after joint surgery. It works in a different way than do aspirin and older blood thinners.
After about a year, on average nearly 11 percent of those on just the usual medicines had suffered a heart attack, heart-related death or a stroke – versus less than 9 percent of those who got Xarelto at either dose.
Don’t Miss: How To Prevent A Stroke Or Heart Attack
Two Types Of Blood Thinners: Anticoagulants Vs Antiplatelets
The two main types of blood thinners are anticoagulants and antiplatelets and its important to know how they function differently in the body. Anticoagulant medications work by slowing down the clot formation process of the body.
Antiplatelet medications work by preventing platelets from clumping together to form new clots. They also help to keep existing clots from growing bigger. Both types can help to prevent blood clots and in turn, they can help to mitigate the risk of suffering from a heart attack or strokes due to clots that break free in the bloodstream.
Do Have Your Blood Checked As Often As Your Doctor Recommends
Warfarin requires regular blood work to ensure you have the right dose, so your blood doesnt become too thin or not thin enough, says Cushman. At the beginning, it can be two or three times per week. Once youre stabilized, its usually every four weeks or so.
Some of the newer drugs, which work on more closely targeted aspects of the clotting process, dont require as much testing because they cause less bleeding, says Granger.
This is one of the reasons that we’re particularly enthusiastic about some of the newer blood thinners called DOACS, notes Granger about direct oral anticoagulants like apixaban and rivaroxaban. Compared to warfarin, the old-fashioned blood thinner, DOACS caused less bleeding into the brain, which is the most devastating type of bleeding.
Don’t Miss: Women’s Symptoms Heart Attack
How Do They Determine The Dosage Of My Blood Thinner
It may take some time to determine the ideal dose of blood thinner for your specific needs. Your doctor will work closely with you to monitor your dosage and may order blood work to check certain levels and determine how well the medication is working.
Tell your doctor about any over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, prescription medications, or anything else you are taking, whether you take it daily or only sometimes. Many of these substances can impact how well a blood thinner will work.
Your diet is also important when taking blood thinners, as some naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in foods can impact how well your blood thinners work. Talk to your doctor about any foods you should avoid or eat consistently while taking the medication.
Its important to take your blood thinners exactly as directed by your doctor on the medication label. If you have any questions about the instructions, contact your doctor or pharmacist to discuss. Taking too little of the medication can mean the medication wont work as well, and taking too much can increase your bleeding risk.
Lifestyle Risk Factors For Heart Attacks
The American Heart Association also identified several lifestyle risk factors that can contribute to the likelihood of suffering from a heart attack or strokes. A few common lifestyle factors that increase your risk include poor nutrition, smoking and tobacco use, sedentary lifestyles, and poor sleep.
The risk factors for heart attacks demonstrate that many people can prevent them by adopting healthier lifestyles. Considering taking blood thinners can also help to prevent blood clotting and eliminate a major cause of strokes and heart attacks. A combination of taking these types of medications in addition to making healthier lifestyle decisions can make a huge impact on decreasing your risk.
You May Like: Heart Failure Nursing Diagnosis
Protect Your Heart With These 13 Natural Blood Thinners
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and blood pressure can be a major contributor to heart disease.
Natural blood thinners are foods that help reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure or having a stroke because they naturally thin your blood.
This post will discuss 13 natural blood thinners to prevent heart attacks and keep your body healthy naturally!
Do Watch Out For New Or Increased Bleeding
The reason is that blood thinners are preventing your bodys natural ability to clot blood, which it does to stop bleeding or minor wounds.
So when taking a blood thinner, you might notice increased bleeding from cuts or scrapes, more frequent or more intense nosebleeds, or heavier-than-normal periods.
But this is no cause for alarm, says Dr. Granger. For most people who have to take blood thinners, the benefit will outweigh the risks.
If minor bleeding bothers you, dont stop taking the medication, Cushman says. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend special wound dressings and other over-the-counter products that can help.
But if you notice blood in your urine, begin coughing up blood, vomit material that looks like coffee grounds , or have black bowel movements , call your doctor immediately, Cushman says.
You May Like: What Makes Heart Rate Go Up
Stroke Is A Possible Complication Of Af
More persistent types of AF are associated with an increased risk of stroke. A stroke can occur when an artery in the brain is blocked by a blood clot . People with AF are at increased risk of stroke because the irregularly beating atria are prone to developing blood clots. The incomplete contraction of the atria allows blood to pool, stagnate and congeal into a clot.A blood clot can break free from the atria and circulate in the bloodstream until it reaches a blood vessel in the brain. Untreated, the risk of stroke is quite high. Other risk factors further increase the risk of stroke in people with AF.The risk of heart problems, such as heart attack and particularly heart failure, is also increased in people with AF.
Dont Miss: Is 140 Heart Rate Bad
Blood Thinner Drug Xarelto Tied To Higher Rate Of Major Side Effects
Xarelto, also known as rivaroxaban, is sold in the United States by Johnson & Johnson arm Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Eliquis, also known as apixaban, was co-developed by Pfizer Inc and Bristol Myers Squibb .
The findings are drawn from Medicare claims data on 581,451 adults age 65 or older with atrial fibrillation. Among every 1,000 individuals, the combined rate of major bleeding events and strokes due to clogged arteries or hemorrhage was roughly 16 per year with Xarelto versus about 13 per year with Eliquis, researchers reported on Tuesday in JAMA.
After taking participants other risk factors into account, the overall rate of these events was 18% higher with Xarelto, they said. Xarelto was tied to a 12% higher rate of clot-related stroke, a 26% higher rate of bleeding-related stroke, a 41% higher rate of fatal non-stroke bleeding, and a roughly doubled rate of non-fatal non-stroke bleeding.
Blood thinners are used in patients with atrial fibrillation to prevent the rhythm disorder from causing small clots in the heart that can cause strokes if dislodged.
Xarelto was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011 and Eliquis was approved in 2012. Both drugs are protected by patents.
- Atrial Fibrillation
- 7 Things to Know About Taking Blood Thinners Safely
Your body creates clots to stop you from bleeding. If you fall or bump your head while taking a blood thinner, you may have internal bleeding even if theres no external sign youve been hurt.
You May Like: Cure To Heart Attack
Blood Thinners: What You Should Know
Blood thinners are medications used to treat and prevent blood clots. Blood travels through blood vessels in a liquid form to bring oxygen and nutrients to tissues throughout the body. When blood clots form in the body, they block normal blood flow from reaching tissues, and can cause tissue death, such as in heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism.
While blood thinners can be lifesaving medications, they carry a risk of bleeding. This article discusses the types of blood thinners, their medical uses, and side effects.
Daniel Grill / Getty Images
Whats My Bleeding Risk With Blood Thinners
Because blood thinners work to prevent blood clots from forming in the body, there is an increased risk of both external and internal bleeding when taking any of these medications. When taking blood thinners, you may bleed more from even a simple injury, such as a paper cut or minor bruise.
Your doctor may tell you to avoid contact sports when taking a blood thinner, and you should use extra caution to avoid injury when using knives, scissors, or garden tools. If you experience an injury that could lead to internal bleeding, such as a fall or even minor car accident, seek medical attention immediately to check for internal bleeding.
Be sure to tell all other medical providers that you are taking a blood thinner before any procedure, including dental work or surgery. Some patients may be instructed to stop taking their blood thinner a certain number of days prior to a medical procedure, while other patients will be advised to delay a procedure until they are no longer taking a blood thinner. As always, consult with your Oklahoma Heart Hospital physician if you have any questions about your medication and whether or not you should stop taking it prior to a medical procedure.
Recommended Reading: Dos And Don Ts After Heart Surgery
How Blood Thinners Work
While anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs are commonly called blood thinners, these medications do not actually thin the blood. Instead, anticoagulant medications slow the bodys process of forming clots. Antiplatelet medications work to keep the body from forming new blood clots. They also help to stop existing clots from growing larger.
A patient may be prescribed blood thinners if they suffer from diseases of the blood vessels or heart, atrial fibrillation, congenital heart defects, heightened risk of blood clots following surgery, or a replacement of a heart valve.
How Is Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosed
To diagnose atrial fibrillation, your healthcare provider will first ask you some questions. Youll share information about your diet and physical activity, family history, any symptoms youve noticed and risk factors. Its OK if you dont know all the answers but share as much as you can. Your experiences and knowledge are essential tools to help your provider make a diagnosis. Your provider will then give you a physical exam that includes:
- Listening to your heart rhythm with a stethoscope.
- Checking your pulse and blood pressure.
- Checking the size of your thyroid gland to identify thyroid problems.
- Looking for swelling in your feet or legs to identify heart failure.
- Listening to your lungs to detect heart failure or infection.
This exam will help your provider understand your baseline health and how your body is functioning.
Tests to diagnose atrial fibrillation
In addition to the physical exam, your provider may run some tests to make an atrial fibrillation diagnosis. These tests include:
An EKG records your hearts electrical impulses and can show if you have atrial fibrillation.
Do Blood Thinners Weaken Your Immune System
A learn about led by researchers on the University of North Carolina signifies that a newly licensed blood thinner that blocks a key part of the human blood clotting machine may build up the possibility and severity of sure viral infections, together with flu and myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart and a important …
Medical Risk Factors For Heart Attacks
There are a variety of both medical and lifestyle factors you should be aware of if youre concerned about having a heart attack. In its 2019 update to the annual Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, the American Heart Association identifies several risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
The identified medical risk factors include being overweight or obese, high blood cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, kidney disease and metabolic syndrome. If you have been diagnosed with any of these medical conditions, its important to really pay attention to your lifestyle and the factors you can control to mitigate your risk.
Shutterstock/5 second Studio
Don’t Miss: Training Zones Heart Rate
What Are The Different Types Of Blood Thinners
There are different types of blood thinners:
- Anticoagulants, such as heparin or warfarin , slow down your body’s process of making clots.
- Antiplatelets, such as aspirin and clopidogrel, prevent blood cells called platelets from clumping together to form a clot. Antiplatelets are mainly taken by people who have had a heart attack or stroke.
What Causes A Heart Attack
Its important to understand the facts when it comes to heart attacks and what causes them. Many heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots that form in damaged blood vessels. These clots can break away and flow through the circulatory system to the heart or brain, causing heart attacks or strokes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 610,000 people in the U.S. pass due to cardiovascular disease each year. The American Heart Association reports that many heart attacks are caused by excessive blood clotting and 80 percent of people who have diabetes mellitus pass away due to clotting-related conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. People who have risk factors for excessive blood clotting may be prescribed anticoagulants or antiplatelets to reduce their risks of blood clots and the resulting cardiovascular events.
Don’t Miss: Minimally Invasive Heart Valve Surgery