If you have been diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation or afib, your doctor may recommend blood thinning medicines, also called anticoagulants. These medicines reduce the blood’s ability to clot, reducing the risk of stroke. Can blood thinners cause internal bleeding?
What are blood thinners?
Blood thinners prevent the formation of blood clots that can stop blood flow to the heart. Find out how they work, who should take them, what are the side effects and natural remedies.
Blood thinners are medicines taken orally or intravenously (through a vein) to prevent a blood clot. Blood clots can stop the blood supply to the heart, lungs or brain. They can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Your doctor may recommend taking a blood thinner if you have heart disease, including heart valve disease and irregular heart rhythms.
Blood thinners should be taken exactly as prescribed. When you don’t take enough, the medication will not be as effective. Taking too much can lead to heavy bleeding.
Risk – bleeding
Blood thinners save lives because they can treat or prevent dangerous blood clots. But they also cause one possible and very serious side effect: bleeding. Because blood thinners slow down blood clotting, these medicines can cause unwanted and sometimes dangerous bleeding.
A person who is taking blood thinners should inform the doctor of any bleeding or unusual bruising, as well as serious falls or a severe blow to the head. Although rare, bleeding caused by blood thinners can be very serious or life-threatening, such as bleeding into the brain or stomach. Serious or life-threatening bleeding requires immediate medical attention.
Natural blood thinners
Some foods and herbs are natural anticoagulants and can prevent blood clotting. Consult your doctor before taking these products if you are taking blood thinners because they can thin your blood too much.
Natural anticoagulants include:
- celery seeds,
Foods rich in vitamin E are also natural blood thinners. Many oils contain vitamin E, such as olive, corn, soy and wheat germ. Other sources of vitamin E food include:
- peanut butter,
- sunflower seeds,
Natural anticoagulants can be beneficial to heart health, but consume them carefully.
Since both types of blood thinners can cause internal bleeding, it is important to have an antidote (infused in the hospital) to reverse the bleeding. The newer blood thinner antidote is effective. You can reverse the effect of the drug thinning the blood in a few minutes. These antidotes have no other side effects. They just reverse the medicine.
He also says that the newer blood thinning antidote can reduce the risk of death from brain bleeding by half. We don’t have this data with warfarin.