But there are other truths about blood thinners that patients may not know — even if these truths could help save their lives in an emergency.
Below are the top ten things you need to know about in order to stay safe while on blood thinners. As always, we encourage you to share this information with anyone you know on blood thinners today!
1. Contact your doctor immediately if you have a bad fall or hit your head — even if you are not bleeding.
That’s because you may be suffering from internal bleeding in this instance, something that may be hard to detect before it is too late.
2. Contact your doctor immediately if you have a large purple bruise anywhere on your body.
A large purple bruise may indicate that bleeding is occurring underneath your skin.
3. Be wary of any activities that may cause bleeding, falling or injury.
Due to the high-risk for severe bleeding that comes with blood thinners like Xarelto and Pradaxa, it’s imperative that you try to avoid activities that could potentially lead to injury; in addition, be cautious when handling razors, scissors, knives or other sharp objects.
4. Talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Generally speaking, swimming and walking are safer exercise activities than other forms of exercise, like biking. There are safety measures that you can take to keep yourself protected: If you ride a bike, wear a helmet and if you like to garden or work in the yard, wear gloves and sturdy shoes that may help protect you from a fall.
5. Write down every medication you take, and keep the list handy.
Blood thinners may have several drug interactions with common prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines. Having a list of everything you take handy could save valuable time should you suffer from a drug interaction or other potential side effects from blood thinners like severe bleeding. You should give this list to any doctor who prescribes you medication, even if they are not the ones who prescribe your blood thinner. Ask each doctor to check for drug interactions with your blood thinner, as the list may be extensive.
6. Talk to your doctor about wearing a medical alert bracelet.
Just like having a list of your medications handy, wearing a medical alert bracelet could be an extra safety measure that saves valuable time by giving doctors and other emergency personnel need-to-know information in a worst-case-scenario. Medical alert bracelets are especially helpful because they allow patients to communicate their health problems even if they are seriously injured or unable to speak.
7. Avoid toothpicks and electric razors.
Even your bathroom activities have to err on the side of caution, meaning some dental floss, toothpicks and electric razors (all devices that may cause bleeding and small cuts) need to be avoided. You can still shave, just don’t use an electric razor which may have a higher risk for slipping and abrupt movements that may cause injury. Please note: Dental hygiene is still important! Use a soft toothbrush and waxed dental floss.
8. If you accidentally miss a dose, call your doctor!
Do not double up on doses of blood thinner. We repeat: Do not double up on doses of blood thinner.
9. Contact your doctor before taking a new vitamin, supplement or over-the-counter medicine.
Patients who take blood thinners have to be cautious of the amount of Vitamin K and other vitamins in their blood. Talk to your doctor before taking a new supplement or beginning a new diet regiment.
10. Vomiting or suffering from diarrhea for more than one day?
You got it: Call your doctor!