Blood Clotting Disorders
Blood Clotting Disorders

Blood Clotting Disorders Treatment and Management

Some people with blood clotting disorders may never get blood clots and may not need treatment. Your doctor will consider your previous history of blood clots as well as your current risk factors to decide a treatment plan.

How are blood clotting disorders treated?

If you have a history of blood clots, your doctor may prescribe blood thinners. You may take blood thinner medicine by mouth (such as warfarin or aspirin) or as a shot (such as heparin). Side effects of warfarin and heparin include heavy bleeding, severe headaches, and dizziness. Warfarin also can interact with over-the-counter medicines such as cold or allergy medicines or ibuprofen.

Blood thinning medicine is all about balance. Your doctor will test your blood often to make sure the dose of medicine is correct and your blood has the proper balance between bleeding and clotting.

A group of medicines called direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) may be an alternative to warfarin or aspirin for some people, as they are safe and effective at preventing blood clots and do not require frequent blood testing. However, you may have to take more doses (twice daily compared to once a day for warfarin). DOACs are most often used in patients with low-risk, inherited blood clotting disorders (such as Factor V Leiden and Prothrombin G20210A). Talk to your doctor about whether DOACs may be right for you.

How do blood clotting disorders affect your health?

It is important to know the causes and risk factors that may increase your chances of developing dangerous blood clots. It is important to get regular checkups and look out for the symptoms of blood clots. If left untreated, blood clots can cause serious problems, including:

  • Deep vein thrombosis, or a blood clot in the leg
  • Pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot that travels to the lung
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Read more information about knowing the signs of and preventing heart attack and stroke.

Research for your health

Research funded by the NHLBI is investigating new treatment options and improving current treatments to prevent blood clots.

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