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What you should know when taking blood thinners

  1. Many people in the Netherlands take anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners. By this term you might think that these drugs thin the blood, but that is incorrect. They do not thin the blood, but reduce or slow the clotting of the blood. If you are taking anticoagulants there are a number of things to keep in mind.

  2. Many people in the Netherlands take anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners. By this term you might think that these drugs thin the blood, but that is incorrect. They do not thin the blood, but reduce or slow the clotting of the blood. If you are taking anticoagulants, there are a number of things to keep in mind.

  1. Doctors prescribe anticoagulants for people with the heart disease angina pectoris, or if someone has had a TIA, heart or stroke. Blood thinners are also prescribed for atrial fibrillation, thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Everyone knows how to clot the blood in an external wound. Clots can also form in a vein or arteries. For example due to damage to a blood vessel. These clots can break loose or, for example, close a blood vessel and cause a heart attack or cerebral infarction. Anticoagulants should prevent this. It is very important for doctor and patient to find the right dosage. In order to prevent thrombosis, the blood must not clot too much. But it should also not coagulate too little, because then serious bleeding can occur. There are three types of blood thinners: platelet inhibitors (thrombocyte aggregation inhibitors) coagulants or oral anticoagulants (VKAs) direct oral coagulants or anticoagulants (DOAC)

  2. Doctors prescribe anticoagulants for people with the heart disease angina pectoris, or if someone has had a TIA, heart or stroke. Blood thinners are also prescribed for atrial fibrillation, thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Everyone knows how to clot the blood in an external wound. Clots can also form in a vein or arteries. For example due to damage to a blood vessel. These clots can break loose or, for example, close a blood vessel and cause a heart attack or cerebral infarction. Anticoagulants should prevent this. It is very important for doctor and patient to find the right dosage. To prevent thrombosis, the blood must not clot too much. But it should also not coagulate too little, because then serious bleeding can occur. There are three types of blood thinners: platelet inhibitors (thrombocyte aggregation inhibitors) coagulants or oral anticoagulants (VKAs) direct oral coagulants or anticoagulants (DOAC)

Platelet inhibitors

  1. Platelets are small cells in the blood that stick to the wound edges and together when damaged. Platelet inhibitors are the least powerful of the drugs in clotting. They have few side effects. The most common are increased bruising and bruising, longer bleeding from wounds and stomach or intestinal bleeding.

  2. Platelets are small cells in the blood that stick to the wound edges and together when damaged. Platelet inhibitors are the least powerful of the drugs in clotting. They have few side effects. The most common are increased bruising and bruising, bleeding from wounds for longer and stomach or intestinal bleeding.

Coagulants or Oral Anticoagulants (VKAs)

  1. Coagulation inhibitors are powerful anticoagulants that inhibit the action of vitamin K. This vitamin plays an important role in blood clotting. VKA therefore stands for Vitamin K antagonists. With VKAs it is very important that the operation is stable. This can fluctuate due to the use of certain foods, illness or the use of other medicines. People who take these drugs must therefore check the INR value, or the clotting time of their blood, with great regularity. INR stands for International Normalized Ratio. It is an international measure of the coageability of blood. It indicates the speed at which your blood clots. An INR of 1.0 is the normal value for people not taking anticoagulants. Depending on the type of condition for which someone is taking anticoagulants, the aim is an INR between 2.0 and 4.0. People taking VKAs can have their INR value checked by the thrombosis service, but nowadays it is also possible to check it themselves. It is then necessary to follow a course to learn everything about self-measurement. This has also made it easier for people using these drugs to go on vacation. In many situations, it is imperative that people taking anticoagulant medications indicate this. For example in the case of emergency surgery. A doctor can then administer vitamin K to prevent bleeding. The Thrombosis Foundation Netherlands offers people the opportunity to apply for an Anti-coagulation pass. With this pass, specialist, general practitioner, dentist and other practitioners know that someone is taking blood thinners.    Â

  2. Coagulation inhibitors are powerful anti-coagulants that inhibit the action of vitamin K. This vitamin plays an important role in blood clotting. VKA therefore stands for Vitamin K antagonists. With VKAs it is very important that the operation is stable. This can fluctuate due to the use of certain foods, illness or the use of other medicines. People who take these drugs must therefore check the INR value, or the clotting time of their blood, with great regularity. INR stands for International Normalized Ratio. It is an international measure of the coageability of blood. It shows the speed at which your blood clots. An INR of 1.0 is the normal value for people who are not taking anticoagulants. Depending on the type of condition for which someone is taking anticoagulants, the aim is an INR between 2.0 and 4.0. People taking VKAs can have their INR value checked by the thrombosis service, but nowadays it is also possible to check it themselves. It is then necessary to follow a course to learn everything about self-measurement. This has also made it easier for people using these drugs to go on vacation. In many situations, it is imperative that people taking anticoagulant drugs indicate this. For example in the case of emergency surgery. A doctor can then administer vitamin K to prevent bleeding. The Dutch Thrombosis Foundation offers people the opportunity to apply for an Anticoagulation pass. With this pass, specialist, general practitioner, dentist and other practitioners know that someone is taking blood thinners.    Â

Direct Anticoagulants (DOAC)

  1. The third and final type of anticoagulants are the Direct Oral Anti-Coagulants (DOAC). Like VKAs, these are powerful anti-coagulants. They are also called NOAC, new anticoagulants. This is because they have not been on the market for very long. DOAC inhibit a specific step in the clotting process. These are much easier to use, but have one major disadvantage. Like VKAs, they increase the risk of spontaneous bleeding or gastrointestinal bleeding, but no antidote is yet available to stop the drug from working quickly. For example in the case of severe bleeding.

Side Effects

  1. If you are taking anticoagulants, it is therefore very important to be aware of bleeding. Other side effects may include constipation, tarry stools, abdominal pain, stomach pain, nausea, or rash. It is advisable to contact your doctor or treating physician if you have any of these side effects. Do you also use other medicines in addition to the anti-coagulants? Always report this to your doctor. This is because it can interact with other medications. You also have to be careful with dietary supplements. A



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