Blood Thinners..."Do's & Don'ts"
Taking Blood Thinners? Become Informed.
Blood thinners or anticoagulants are commonly used in the prevention of strokes. This is especially important for people who have suffered a first stroke, as they have an increased risk of suffering a second one. In fact, about 30% of all strokes in a given year are repeat strokes. Thus, stroke survivors must be diligent about stroke prevention. However, even if you have never suffered a stroke, but are at risk of getting one, you are likely to be taking a blood thinner. Common anticoagulant medications include: coumadin, warfarin, aggrenox, heparin, lovenox, plavix, and aspirin.
Do take your medication at the same time each day.
Do keep your physicians appointments for proper medication monitoring.
If you miss your dose, take it as soon as you remember, but only if it is the same day. Never double your dose unless directed by your physician.
Consult your physician before taking generic versions of anticoagulants.
Do keep your diet and activities similar each day.
Do notify each doctor, dentist or healthcare provider you see that you are taking a blood thinner.
Do notify your doctor before starting any new medicines or supplements.
Do watch for signs of bleeding, such as headache, dizziness, weakness, nosebleeds, cuts that do not stop bleeding, unusual bruising, bleeding gums, brown urine, or red or black stools.
Do notify your doctor if you plan to travel out of town for an extended period. Arrangements for filling your prescriptions and obtaining lab test will need to be made in advance.
DON"T stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor.
Always seek advice from your physician concerning any questions you might have regarding your condition or medication. Source: Jose Vega M.D., Ph D, About.com
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