Different health scenarios can lead one to be prescribed blood thinners by the healthcare givers. Doctors prescribe blood thinners to people suffering from blood vessels or heart diseases that cause insufficient blood flow to the brain.
Blood thinners help minimize the risk of blood clots forming in veins or arteries, resulting in stroke or a heart attack. The two types of blood thinners are anticoagulants and antiplatelet. Anticoagulants such as warfarin and heparin work on chemical substances in the body to prolong the time taken to form clots. Antiplatelet like aspirin deter platelets from clumping and forming clots. Despite their approved medical benefits, using blood thinners before and after surgery can negatively affect a patient due to prolonged bleeding.
Side Effects of Blood Thinners before and after surgery
Evaluating the implications of blood thinners after surgery is important because it helps prepare the patient for all possible outcomes. The most common outcome is prolonged bleeding, which occurs because the blood thinners inhibit the formation of clots.
Prolonged bleeding affects the time it takes to heal the wounds incurred through the surgical process, which affects the quality of life the patient leads. The patient might also experience nose and gum bleeding, which was not present in the past. Sometimes, patients on blood thinners pass blood in their poo and urine and vomiting blood. Severe bruising is another side effect associated with blood thinners.
Women of menstruation age also experience heavy bleeding if they use blood thinners. There is a need for patients undergoing surgical procedures who are on blood thinners to get concerned. Bleeding after surgical procedures differs depending on whether one had a complex procedure such as knee replacement or a simple invasive process like extracting teeth.
Blood Thinners before Surgery
As earlier noted, blood thinners increase the chances of a patient undergoing surgery experiencing severe bleeding. Losing a lot of blood during surgery is life-threatening since it increases the mortality rate following associated complications. Medical experts argue that severe bleeding during surgical processes causes body organs to shut down, resulting in failure or absolute damage. For instance, a patient taking blood thinners before surgery might experience irregular or rapid heartbeats. Taking blood thinners before surgery is among the factors associated with severe bleeding.
Individuals taking blood thinners following a doctor’s prescription should communicate their situation to the surgeon. Creating awareness about such information makes it possible for the surgeons to be prepared for any excessive bleeding incidence during the operation. The healthcare providers also suggest preventive measures for the patient to enhance safety. The risk of experiencing severe bleeding for patients taking blood thinners before surgery differs depending on the surgical procedure that will be undertaken.
Medical experts recommend that patients on blood thinners stop their medication before undergoing the invasive procedure. The period recommended for patients to stop taking blood thinners before surgery differs depending on underlying conditions and the type of medication one takes. Patients undergoing a surgical procedure on antiplatelet drugs should stop using the medication seven days before the operation. Those using the anticoagulants should stop their medication two to five days before the surgical procedure. The recommended period helps minimize the antiplatelet’s ability and anticoagulants’ ability to inhibit clot formation, which can lead to excessive bleeding.
Healthcare givers might recommend the continued use of blood thinners before surgery for patients with some underlying conditions that are life-threatening during a surgical process. Patients experiencing rampant quivering and at risk of stroke and heart failure are put on blood thinners before and after the surgery. However, the doctors have a precautionary measure that protects them from excessive bleeding, which involves the prescription of low-molecular-weight heparin. Low-molecular-weight blood thinners tend to wear off quickly, which means their effect on the body will weaken as time lapses.
How to stop bleeding when on blood thinners
So how do healthcare givers stop bleeding when a patient is on blood thinners? Answering the question outlines how to stop bleeding when on blood thinners. The surgeons need to be prepared for heavy bleeding incidents if their patients are on blood thinners to enhance the safety of the medical procedure. Vitamin K is an antidote to stop excessive bleeding during a surgical process.
Vitamin K is injected into the patient’s body to enhance the clot formation process, which will, in return, ease the bleeding. However, the Vitamin K antidote is only used during emergencies where the doctors urgently need to stop the ongoing bleeding. Patients on blood thinners should follow the doctor’s guidance to minimize the risks of over bleeding during surgical processes.
Blood thinning foods to avoid before surgery
It is evident that for some people, it is inevitable to consume blood thinners due to the high risk of clot formation. However, when faced with a critical procedure such as undergoing a surgical process, blood thinners can cause severe, life-threatening complications. Doctors can test how quickly a patient clots, which helps guide an appropriate diet. Some foods, including those rich in Vitamin K, alcohol, and herbal supplements, affect how blood thinners functions.
In an informative video (https://youtu.be/NsSZAwFKF9E), Liz Weinandy, a dietitian at Wexner Medical Center affiliated with Ohio State University, guides blood thinner patients on blood thinning foods to avoid before surgery. Liz argues that a large uptake of foods rich in Vitamin K increases the rate at which clots form, while small amounts reduce clot formation. Both outcomes can influence the healing process for individuals consuming blood thinners after surgery.
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When thinking about blood thinning foods to avoid before surgery, the idea should be to keep the blood levels stable so that the clot formation will not be so quick or slow. Some foods are considered natural blood thinners and thus should be avoided before surgery. These foods include turmeric, ginger, cayenne peppers, garlic, cinnamon, and grape seeds. Foods rich in Vitamin E should also be avoided because the substance is a natural blood thinner. Vitamin E is present in blood thinning foods to avoid before surgery, including almonds, sunflower oil, spinach, kales, whole grains, and peanut butter.
Alcohol is another blood thinning food to avoid before surgery because it acts as a blood thinner. Alcohol is popular for increasing the level of good cholesterol in the body. The cholesterol increases blood thinning since it builds up in blood vessels such as arteries and veins and hinders blood flow. A study in the medical field demonstrates that taking alcohol inhibits the ability of blood cells to clump together to form blood clots. Patients that take blood thinning foods such as alcohol before surgery increases the risk of a heart attack or uncontrollable bleeding. Therefore, patients scheduled for surgical operations should refrain from using alcohol some days before their appointment date.
Supplements are another group of blood thinning foods to avoid before surgery. It is essential for patients scheduled for any invasive medical procedure to make their surgeon aware that they are using supplements. Some supplements that act as blood thinners include turmeric, ginseng, evening primrose oil, red clover, white willow, meadowsweet, chamomile, fish oil, ginger, garlic, and feverfew. All the above supplements are associated with blood thinning and are likely to prolong the time it takes before forming blood clots in the patient’s body.
Blood thinners after surgery
Prescribing blood thinners after surgery is a common practice by doctors since they help in controlling bleeding. Some of the most commonly used blood thinners after surgery include warfarin and Lovenox. Doctors prescribe blood thinners after surgery as a preventive measure against the formation of clotting. Patients might have to take period thinners after surgery for a period not less than ten days and utmost fourteen days. However, individuals considered to be at a higher risk of clot formation might have to continue taking their blood thinner prescription many days after surgery.
Patients who took blood thinners before surgery for medical reasons can resume taking the medication soon after the procedure is complete. In some instances, doctors will allow the patients to take their blood thinning medication in the evening after the surgery is complete.
However, patients must ensure that they abide by the counsel given by their doctors on the preferred time to resume their blood thinning medication after surgery. Following the guidelines minimizes the patient’s risk of life-threatening complications that could have been avoided. Using blood thinners after surgery might harm the patient’s healing process.
The most common effect that patients using blood thinners after surgery experience is a slowed healing process, especially when the wound is chronic. Slow healing of a wound can lead to complications such as skin necrosis. The condition causes painful lesions to form on the skin in areas like breasts, abdomen, and thighs. The wounds become difficult to treat and might take a prolonged period to heal. Experts in the healthcare field recommend the involvement of a certified wound specialist when a patient is prescribed blood thinners after surgery. The wound specialist evaluates the healing phases and recommends the best measures to facilitate complete healing.