Blood coagulation can be triggered by a variety of circumstances such as:
• Heart failure
• Prolonged immobility
• Substance abuse
• Medication side-effects
• Inherited Coagulation disorders
These are just a few of the causes of blood clots. Certain coagulations, if left unattended can be life threatening. It can result to the hindrance of normal blood circulation which eventually leads to lack of blood supply to delicate tissues. Upon identification of a blood clot, proper medical management should not be ignored.
Treatment for blood clots may vary from person to person. Depending on the severity, the blood clots may necessitate aggressive treatment or nothing more than symptomatic care.
Blood Clot Treatment Essentials
Anticoagulation medications, also called blood thinners, are utilized by practitioners to treat blood clots. These medications slow the time it takes for blood clot. They also prevent the development of more clots from forming. The most commonly utilized medications are heparin, low molecular weight heparin, and warfarin.
1. UNFRACTIONATED HEPARIN (UF)
Unfractionated Heparin (UF) is a fast-acting blood thinner that can be given through a needle inserted into the recipient’s vein (intravenously), a provision of medications by injection. IV heparin works within minutes. Most hospitals utilize heparin by IV.
Patients undergoing treatment with heparin have to undergo daily blood inspections for indirect measurement of heparin activity. This blood inspection is called UF heparin level or anti-Xa assay.
The practitioner may adjust one’s heparin dose based on the results of the inspections. The reason for the need of frequent monitoring is due to the inevitable possibility for one’s blood levels to change.
The above mentioned method have its pros and cons though, namely;
– Swiftly penetrates the blood thus preventing blood clots faster.
– The effect wears off quickly upon ceasing the IV drip.
– It requires frequent monitoring of effectiveness.
– Only hospitals offer IV intake and the recipient needs to be hospitalized for 3-10 days.
– Headache, Bleeding, Skin rash, cold symptoms, and stomach upset.
2. LOW MOLECULAR WEIGHT HEPARIN (LMWH)
Low molecular weight heparins are similar to other type of heparins, except the user can give himself or herself a shot or injection at home with no necessary hospital aide.
LMWH endures for longer periods in the body than UF heparins. Its effects are more predictable than UF heparin, thus most recipients do not require frequent monitoring.
The LMWH readily accessible in the USA are dalteparin (Fragmin®) and enoxaparin (Lovenox®).
– One can simply inject himself or herself at home conveniently.
– Reduces hours spent in the hospital for clot treatment and/or continuous unnecessary blood tests.
– LMWH is costly.
– Similar to other heparins except for loss of bone strength being uncommon.
Warfarin (Coumadin®) is a pill for long-term anticoagulation or blood thinning.
The practitioner usually adds warfarin as a treatment method that goes along with heparin where the patient will be having both medicines for a few days. The warfarin must attain a certain degree in order to function efficiently. It may be taken for a period of 5-7 days (or longer) with the heparin in order for the warfarin to reach adequate degree in one’s blood for efficiency.
Once the warfarin dose is sufficient, the practitioner will cease giving heparin and the recipient may then be discharged.
– It is inexpensive and it comes as a tablet pill.
– It is a familiar method for practitioners due to common usage. It has been in use since the 1950’s.
– Warfarin users are likely to bleed as it lengthens the period before blood coagulation could occur.
– Rash, hair loss, headache, skin breakdown, purple toes and elevated liver enzymes.
4. NEWER ANTICOAGULATION DRUGS
There are newer anticoagulation medications that have been observed to inhibit blood factor X. These medications act almost immediately as it assists in thinning blood. These drugs include the following:
– Apixaban (Eliquis)
– Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
– Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
– Edoxaban (Savaysa)
The drugs may be taken orally but with quick effects. Also, you do not need to undergo frequent laboratory examination or monitoring.
The decision for the right type of anticoagulation medication (Vitamin K antagonist v. Factor X/thrombin inhibitor) depends upon the patient’s condition. All patients who will be taking anticoagulation medications come across the hazard of bleeding.
Presently, there are no antidotes approved in the United States to reverse the effects of Factor X inhibitors, should the need arise, considering that there are reversal strategies available for warfarin and heparin.
Blood clots are treated similarly to deep venous thrombosis where methods are based on the severity of the symptoms, the amount of clot formation, and the current health status of the subject.
Admission to hospital for further treatment and observation may be a necessity. This will be vital especially in cases of compromised lung function like shortness of breath or display of hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the blood).
5. THROMBOLYTIC THERAPY
Patients who are critically ill and displays symptoms of heart strain or shock are candidate for the need of thrombolytic therapy where drugs like tissue plasminogen activators (TPAs) are utilized. TPAs may be given by injection into a peripheral vein in the arm to quickly thin the blood. It has been known as a coagulation busting drug.
The therapy is administered directly into the clot with the main objective of dissolving it. Alteplase (Activase, TPA) or tenecteplase (TNKase) are illustrations of tissue plasminogen activator medications with the potential of being utilized in peripheral arteries to attempt restoring blood supply. This is a similar approach used in the treatment of heart attacks.
If possible, cardiac catheterization is performed in order to locate the blocked blood vessel. A balloon angioplasty may also be used to open the occluded area, restore blood flow, and allow placement of a stent to keep it open.
It will be a time-sensitive procedure, and if the hospital is not capable to perform the procedure emergently, TNK or TPA is used intravenously as an attempt to dissolve the thrombus and lessen heart damage.
Eventually, when the patient is stable, he will be transferred for possible cardiac catheterization for evaluation of heart anatomy. A decision may be made whether stents will be needed to keep the affected artery open or whether bypass surgery is preferable in restoring blood supply to the heart.
6. SUPPLEMENTARY MEDICATIONS
Clots may develop in deep or superficial veins of the leg.
The treatment for superficial blood clot is mainly around pain management and reduction of inflammation with the use of medications, (such as acetaminophen [Tylenol and others] or ibuprofen [Advil, Motrin, etc.]).
The clot lodgings and obstructions (embolus) in the vein pose a meager risk due to the anatomy of the leg. Perforator (specialized) veins interconnect superficial veins deeply, and have valves acting as strainers to prevent clots from travelling to the lung.
7. SURGICAL MANAGEMENT
In times of emergency, such as when blood clot in lung treatment procedure needs to be quick, the physician may use a catheter-directed method towards the blood clot.
Arterial blood clots are often managed with aggression. Surgery may be attempted in order to remove the clot.
8. CHANGES IN DIET
Another factor essential in the prevention of blood coagulation (blood clot) is alertness towards the risk factors involved in vascular diseases.
The reasons for vascular disease and abnormal blood coagulation like inflammation, weakness of the veins and arteries, and the buildup of fatty deposits in the blood vessels can be due to regular dietary practices.
Over a long period of time, the impairment will begin to initiate the formation of blood clots in one’s vessels, thus preventing the circulation of blood to the affected area.
Being cautious to one’s food intake can reduce the hazard of suffering from vascular diseases and unnecessary blood clotting. Drinking a lot of water also improves the hydration, circulation and flushing out of irritating toxins thereby reducing chances of clot formation.
9. HOME REMEDIES FOR BLOOD CLOTS
Garlic is an esteemed rejuvenator that aides in removing toxins from the blood. It’s believed to stimulate blood circulation and revitalization. Garlic also helps prevent the formation of unusual coagulation by reducing fibrin content in the body thereby affecting the clumping of platelets.
Spinach juice can also be helpful. It aides in preventing fat accumulation. With additions of garlic cloves, a few peppercorns and spinach leaves, it makes much more of an effective healthy measure. Another well-known reducer of fibrin content, a protein vital in blood clot formation, is gingko.
Broccoli contains high contents of fiber and vitamin C which are excellent for individuals who are prone to vascular disorders and blood clot formations. Celery has also been known to reduce stress hormones associated with narrowing of blood vessels.
Pepper and Cayenne (capsicum) is believed to prevent platelets from clumping together. Ginger, Turmeric and Bilberry are also other sources that can help reduce the clumping of platelets leading to formation of blood clots.
Cinnamon maintains activation and regulation of the blood to prevent unusual blood clot formation. Its preparation involves creating a decoction through boiling an inch of cinnamon stick in about a glass of water until it’s reduced in half. The decoction should be taken once each day.
Skimmed milk contains calcium necessary for better platelet function compared to full cream milk. Avoid full cream milk for its fatty contents will be deposited in the walls of blood vessels thereby reducing its diameter.
10. PHYSICAL THERAPY
Full body massage can stimulate the flow of blood lessening the possibilities of blood coagulation to a large extent. If blood clots are already present in the body but not harmful or life threatening, then massaging with proper pressure techniques may help dissolve them.
The use of sesame oil is regarded to be the best option for this purpose. You can also use herbal oils that are especially made for improvement of blood circulation.
Hot and cold pack therapy is also helpful in revitalizing blood flow in vessels. It also helps dissolve accumulated fats in the veins.
Regular exercises can also aide in the extermination of blood clots. For people, especially those who regularly live a sedentary lifestyle, changing ones stance often and scheduling regular exercise results in improved regulation of the blood flow.
However, it is advised to seek medical advice even when dealing with minor unusual coagulation. It is uncertain how hazardous even the minor effects could be to one’s body system.
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