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What Do You Know About Blood Thinners?

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Blood thinners make your blood less thick.

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Blood thinners make your blood less thick.

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Despite their name, blood thinners don't actually thin your blood. They keep harmful clots from forming in your veins and stop them from getting bigger. They help prevent heart attacks and strokes. 

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You shouldn't eat spinach if you take a blood thinner.

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You shouldn't eat spinach if you take a blood thinner.

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Along with cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and other green leafy vegetables, spinach has a lot of vitamin K, which can affect how warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) works. It's OK to eat those veggies when you're taking it, but try to eat the same amount every day. A sudden boost of vitamin K can make warfarin less effective.

 

Newer blood thinners -- apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa), edoxaban (Savaysa), or rivaroxaban (Xarelto) -- work differently. They block various points in the series of events that form a clot. And you can eat green leafy vegetables whenever you want.

What could be a sign of bleeding?

What could be a sign of bleeding?

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The most common side effect of blood thinners is uncontrolled bleeding. That could be a cut that won't stop, pee that's red or brown, or bowel movements that are red or look like tar. Other signs are bruises you don't know how you got or a very bad headache. Call your doctor if you notice any of these.

 

Go to the hospital or call your doctor if you have a bad fall or a hard bump, even if you don't see any blood.

Which common drug can help prevent blood clots?

Which common drug can help prevent blood clots?

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You need a prescription for blood thinners. But if you have or are at risk for heart problems, this over-the-counter drug could save your life. Check with your doctor before using it though, and follow his or her advice on how much to take and when.

When you're taking a blood thinner, which of these is least risky?

When you're taking a blood thinner, which of these is least risky?

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You want to avoid anything that could make you bleed. Some things are obvious: Be careful when you use sharp things such as knives, scissors, and razors.

 

Others you may need to think about. To keep your gums from bleeding, try a soft toothbrush and waxed dental floss. Don't use toothpicks. Always wear shoes outdoors. Put on gloves while gardening and using tools.

If you forget to take your blood thinner, it's best to:

If you forget to take your blood thinner, it's best to:

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Some blood thinners need to be taken around the same time every day. If you forget to take yours, do it when you remember. Then take your next day's dose on your regular schedule. A pill box with slots for different days can help you stay on track. Call your doctor if you miss a day.

Which is the safest sport for someone taking blood thinners?

Which is the safest sport for someone taking blood thinners?

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Non-contact sports like walking and swimming are generally safe, because you're not likely to bruise or bleed. If you want to do something with more impact or a chance of getting hit, check with your doctor. Also ask if you should wear a medical alert bracelet that lists the drugs you take.

What should you do if you get a nosebleed?

What should you do if you get a nosebleed?

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Nosebleeds are more common when you're on blood thinners, and you might have trouble making them stop. Squeeze your nose closed for 10 to 15 minutes, and put a cold compress on the bridge. If it's still bleeding after 30 minutes, get to a doctor or call 911. Talk to your doctor if it happens a lot.

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