More people than realize it are at risk of heart attack or stroke due to factors that risk their arterial health. If you have ever had a blood clot you know that your cardiologists’ main concern is that your blood clot may dislodge and find its way into your heart or brain. When that happens you become susceptible to a stroke or heart attack. One of the primary, non-surgical responses to blood clotting disorders is a medication called Coumadin.
What is Coumadin?
Technically speaking, Coumadin is an anticoagulant used to prevent blood from clotting. In most cases, clotting is an essential function of the human body to enable healing. Think of the times you cut yourself and a scab formed. This is a prime example of clotting working just as it should. However, this marvel of the human body becomes dangerous when it occurs within veins and arteries. Coumadin is prescribed to patients for a number of different reasons. Commonly it is used by patients to have clotting related conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolisms (PE).
DVT occurs when the veins of the arms and legs become weak or otherwise disordered and are unable to pump blood back to the heart. The blood then begins to pool in the arms or legs and can coagulate into a clot. PE, on the other hand, occurs when a clot (often a portion of a DVT clot) becomes dislodged from its point of origin and blocks an artery in the lungs.
When it comes to treating any blood clot-related condition, you should always listen to your doctor and carefully follow their instructions as it pertains to the taking of medication. That said, here are some things you might like to know about the blood-thinning medication we call Coumadin. Coumadin is an oral medication and is taken regularly by a patient as prescribed by their physician.
The Importance of Lifestyle
As powerful as this medication is, it is not a miracle cure and should be paired with a heart-healthy diet and regular exercise (as long as it is permitted by your doctor). Taking into consideration the importance of a healthy diet for patients on Coumadin, there are some foods that you should avoid. You may be surprised to hear that Vitamin K interacts negatively with Coumadin and makes it less effective in your body. If you are currently on this medication you should avoid eating significant amounts of foods containing vitamin K like leafy green vegetables.
While Coumadin is a powerful drug to thin a patient’s blood and avoid unnecessary blood clotting, there are also steps that you can take to prevent the need for Coumadin all together. One of the risk factors of blood clotting is immobility. In order to keep your blood circulating it’s important to maintain a regular exercise regimen. This doesn’t mean that you need to go out and join a CrossFit gym tomorrow, however, it’s important to get at least 30 minutes of exercise six days a week. This may look different to different people, but walking, cycling, and swimming are all reasonable forms of exercise. Preventing blood clotting doesn’t require Olympic level athleticism, just a regular commitment to moving your body.
We know the importance of avoiding Vitamin K while taking Coumadin. In addition to that, it’s important to maintain a healthy body weight. The standard will be different from person to person, but your doctor can clue you into an ideal weight for your body. Being overweight is a major risk factor for blood clotting. This is an important health factor to prioritize whether or not you’re experiencing clotting issues.
You Can Thank Your Parents
Finally, clotting disorders are often hereditary. So even if you have a healthy diet, maintain a reasonable weight, and exercise every day, you may be predisposed toward clotting disorders. For more information about this, you should dig as much into your family’s health background as you’re able. If you find that your family has a history of stroke or heart attack related to blood clots, tell your physician immediately so they can take that information into consideration as they move through your case.
Blood clotting disorders are concerning for patients and their families, but we want to relieve some of that concern by letting you know how confident we are in the effectiveness of Coumadin as a treatment. When taken as prescribed, and in conjunction with a heart-healthy lifestyle, patients are known to continue living healthy and happy lives.
Whether you are a current patient of ours or someone who is concerned about his or her heart health, we hope you will let us know immediately if you begin having some of the symptoms of blood clotting. For more information about Coumadin, and to find out whether or not you are eligible for this treatment, contact us today.