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Anticoagulants


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Description

What are anticoagulants?

Anticoagulants or blood thinners are chemical substances that prevent or reduce the coagulation of blood. They are the class of medicines used in the treatment of thrombotic disorders. Some anticoagulants are also used in medical equipment like sample tubes, blood transfusion bags, and dialysis equipment.


Symptoms of anticoagulants

  • Formation of clots in heart chambers
  • Abnormal blood flow rate
  • Blockage of arteries leading to stroke
  • Presence of deep vein thrombosis

It is a condition when the blood clot forms in one or more deep veins in the body, most commonly in the legs. Its symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, warm skin in the affected area, redness of the skin.

Presence of Pulmonary embolism ( Blockage in the pulmonary artery). Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, feeling faint or dizzy, passing out.

The presence of artificial heart valves from previous surgery requires anticoagulant treatment in the long term.


Causes of anticoagulants

  • History of heart attack or stroke
  • Presence of heart or blood vessel disease
  • Irregular heart rhythm, lupus, grave vein disease
  • Obesity
  • History of heart surgery
  • Atrial fibrillation

Common drugs

There are two types of drugs,

a) Anticoagulants

They keep the blood from clotting.

  • Apixaban (Eliquis)
  • Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
  • Edoxaban (Savaysa)
  • Fondaparinux (Arixtra)
  • Heparin (Fragmin, Innohep)
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)

b) Antiplatelets

  • They target blood platelets in the clot.
  • Aspirin
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Dipyridamole (Persantine)
  • Prasugrel (Effient)
  • Ticagrelor (Brilinta)

Prevention

  • Maintain good heart health
  • Avoid smoking
  • Regular Exercising
  • Healthy Diet
  • Maintain BMI (Body Mass Index)
  • Complete sleep cycle
  • Manage stress
  • Regular health check-ups

Diagnosis

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

It records electrical signals which help in detecting irregularities in heart rhythm and structure.

Holter Monitoring

It is a portable device that can record continuous ECG for 24 to 72 Hrs.

Echocardiogram

It is a non-invasive exam that includes ultrasound of the chest and detailed images of heart structure and function.

Stress Test

Testing of heart rate with exercising or medicine.

Cardiac Catheterization

A short tube is inserted in the vein or artery in the leg or arm. It is directed towards the heart with the help of X-ray images on the monitor. A dye is used in the process to check abnormalities.

Cardiac Computerized Tomography Scan (CT Scan)

This test is performed by lying the patient inside a machine and checking the heart and chest images by rotating it.


FAQ

How do anticoagulants work?

They interfere with the body's ability to form clots by affecting the vitamin K dependent clotting factors in the liver.


How much do I take?

Anticoagulants are required in severe heart or blood-related conditions. They should be consumed only as per doctor's prescription.


When do I take it?

They should be taken at regular intervals as prescribed by the doctors. If a dose is missed, it can be taken in a few hours of lapse; however, it should not be taken in double doses the next day.


What is the PT INR test?

It is a test that checks how quickly your blood clots. Doses of anticoagulants affect the results if the PT/INR Test.


Do you have to pay attention to vitamin K in my diet?

Vitamin K acts as a factor of clot formation. Hence it should be included in the diet in proper amounts.