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What do blood thinners do?

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Blood thinners are medicines that help blood flow smoothly through your veins and arteries. They also keep blood clots from forming or getting bigger. They’re used to treat some types of heart disease and heart defects, and other conditions that could raise your risk of getting dangerous clots.

They can protect against heart attacks and strokes. That said, they also come with risks: For example, they’ll cause you to bleed more than usual when you cut yourself.

From: Blood Thinner Basics WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: American Heart Association: "What Are Anticoagulants and Antiplatelet Agents?" Northwest Primary Care: "Helpful Tips for Those Taking Anticoagulant Medications." Society for Vascular Surgery: "Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)." American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Deep Vein Thrombosis." UpToDate: "Patient Information: Warfarin (Coumadin)."

Reviewed by Louise Chang on January 15, 2018

SOURCES: American Heart Association: "What Are Anticoagulants and Antiplatelet Agents?" Northwest Primary Care: "Helpful Tips for Those Taking Anticoagulant Medications." Society for Vascular Surgery: "Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)." American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Deep Vein Thrombosis." UpToDate: "Patient Information: Warfarin (Coumadin)."

Reviewed by Louise Chang on January 15, 2018

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Are blood thinners dangerous?

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