What are Blood Thinners?

With the various types of medications available and many prescribed or recommended by health care professionals, it’s important to understand the effects and purposes of what you take in order to understand how they can help you and why they’re fundamental to your health and well being. This week, let’s explore the purposes of blood thinners and several aspects of what they do.

Your Cardiovascular System

Every time you get a cut or more specifically, one of your blood vessels becomes damaged, your body’s first and foremost steps for damage control and repair is the process of clotting which can be seen when a cut scabs over. This mechanism is imperative to the protection and continual operation of your cardiovascular system, or more literally, prevents you from bleeding out. However, this process of clotting may happen too often or at times when unnecessary or excessive clotting occurs. The risk becomes potential starvation of oxygen because clots may impede the flow of blood in your system. One of the most common ways this is displayed is through heart attacks, where blood clots either form within or travel to the heart and impede blood flow. This is potentially, and usually, a life threatening situation. That’s why it’s common advice to take aspirin when anticipating or experiencing a heart attack because blood thinners are able to combat blood clots.

Blood Thinners

There are some misconceptions with blood thinners in that the name suggests that a blood thinner would ‘thin,’ or in other words, dilute your blood but the name is somewhat misleading. Blood thinners are actually a way to prevent future blood clots from happening rather than stopping a current one. One type of blood thinner, an anticoagulant, prevents your body from being able to make new blood clots through inhibiting clotting factor proteins. Another type are called antiplatelets which prevent your blood from adhering to other blood cells and the extremes of the blood vessels. Some common types of blood thinner medications are Aspirin, Dipyridamole, Ticagrelor, Clopidogrel but blood thinners can also be seen in common household ingredients. Turmeric, Garlic, and Ginger are just a few that contain particular chemicals that act as a blood thinner.

For good measure, it’s always a smart decision to keep common medications on hand such as aspirin for an emergency blood thinner. But it’s also important to consult with a doctor and see what uses you may have for certain types of medications and the scenarios where you might use them. Such as with this article, it’s important to educate yourself on the purpose and effect of medications for situations where you may need them in an emergency. Consulting your healthcare professional and doing your own due diligence from online research is your best strategy in terms of investing in your own personal health.

Forbes Aggabao -Alexander’s Hope Intern