Unless you were born with a condition that affects clotting factors in your blood, you may not know about the risks when they aren’t functioning properly. This knowledge is extremely important, especially as we get older.
Ideally, blood will clot to cover a wound, protecting it from outside bacteria and encouraging healing. However, it can clot inside the blood stream and that leads to many problems.
Loss of Limb: If the clot is in the right location, you could lose a toe, a foot or even an entire leg. The cause of this is deep vein thrombosis, or a clot that is deep inside your leg. If caught in time, measures can be taken to prevent this damage, but it has to be caught in time.
Clot on the Move: If the clot breaks free, it can run its way through your bloodstream and affect other areas of your body. It can block blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack. It can enter the lungs and cause a condition known as pulmonary embolism. It can even travel all the way to the brain and cause a stroke. All of these are life altering and life threatening problems.
People at risk for this problem are usually placed on blood thinners. How many and how strong depends on the risk factors involved. There are a few problems with blood thinners.
Bleeding: If you are on blood thinners, even a paper cut may need a bandage. It takes longer for a scab to form, therefore more blood is lost. The danger here is that a serious cut could cause enough blood loss to be problematic. It may also scare your spouse or children…believe me, I know.
Gout: At least one blood thinner of choice can directly affect your likelihood of a gout flare up. Aspirin increases uric acid in the blood stream, and can cause this problem to develop. Low dose aspirin isn’t usually a culprit, but higher doses are.
Drug/herb Interactions: People on blood thinners have to be very careful when choosing an herbal supplement. There are some very popular herbs that can increase the effectiveness of the medications. Garlic and Omega-3 fatty acids both thin the blood.
If you have or think you are having a problem with your clotting factors, please see your doctor. He or she can determine whether or not you need to take medication for the problem. Also ask about any other medications or supplements you use. This will help you avoid side effects and drug/herb interactions that could make your problems worse.