What do blood thinners do?

Ah, blood thinners! We all know they’re good for the heart, right? But what exactly do they do? Do they make your blood thinner like a juice cleanse diet or are there some misconceptions surrounding these drugs?

Alrighty then. Buckle up and enjoy my entertaining explanation of how blood thinners actually work!

Hemostasis: The Body’s Marvelous “Patch Job”

First things first – Let’s talk about hemostasis (“heme-o-stays-iss”), which is the body’s incredible process to stop bleeding when we get hurt. It goes like this:

  1. Blood vessels contract (what many people call vasoconstriction)
  2. Platelets stick together (called platelet aggregation) to form a plug that stops the bleeding
  3. Coagulation factors (which keep your blood from clotting too much) join in.
  4. Fibrinogen (say it with me fib-rin-o-jen!) forms fibrin threads, which weave through the plug of platelets to create a strong mesh that holds everything in place.

As amazing as our bodies are at fixing themselves up after scrapes, bruises and cuts; sometimes this patch job can turn into too much of a good thing… drumroll please, cue…

Blood Clots

Blood clots happen when our bodies take that wonderful patch job one step too far by creating hard bumps made out of fibrin strands mixed with coagulation factors and trapped red/white blood cells inside them where you might not want -causing huge problems for those poor little guys down-stream [no pun intended]. Blood flow slows or gets completely cut off altogether causing tissue damage wherever arteries lead – including places like our legs or lungs when travelling long distances during air travel.

Did you know?
One potential side effect from flights is something known as Deep vein thrombosis or DVT, which is a blood clot that forms in one of the deep veins in your body. These clots usually form in the lower leg but can also appear elsewhere.

So What Do Blood Thinners Actually Do?

Blood thinners (anticoagulants) are medicines used to either, outright stop blood from clotting so easily or slow down our coagulation response, depending on how our bodies use them [technical speak alert]. Before beating around the bush though let us categorize these drugs

There are two types of Anticoagulants:

  1. Oral
  2. Injectable

Nowadays, most patients take oral anticoagulant tablets like Warfarin and it’s younger cousins Apixaban and Rivaroxaban because they require less monitoring and do not involve any needles…

Note: Target INR – International normalized ratio relates to reporting number The ideal range for INR values will vary based on what condition you have; talk with your healthcare provider about what’s best for (fill blank with name of medical posse).

But how does an anticoagulant do its job? Is there some virus transmitted through magic pills that kills off intracellular machinery responsible for making fibrinogen?

Believe it or not Anticoags, help stem fast acting patch application by slowing down formation of another essential tool called Vitamin K which simultaneously helps produce coagulation factors while blocking accumulated cells along blood vessels.

Without enough Vitamin K ‘clotting bits’ lay dormant waiting their time again circulating all over signaling an emergency where none needs go off-grid events.

In general terms:

  1. ‘Once upon a time’, common drawbacks from using Vit-K inhibitors were harsh bleeding episodes since mentioned vitamin is also necessary for everyday wound sealing across pretty much every tissue type.

  2. Another con was regular doctor visits to check your often fluctuating dosages; those treatments took plenty of time away from poolside reading.

Did you know?
Novels fit perfectly in ICU waiting rooms.

Now… ta-da! [Shout it out loud] Enter Xa inhibitors!

Xa Inhibitors

Faster to kick in than Warfarin, they don’t need tiny therapeutic windows or annoying office visits so patients can relax about their medication schedules. Best part? They have fewer drug interactions with other medications like antibiotics and nap-time helpers (snooze aides- thank-you Thesaurus!).

Why is that good news for our bodies?

The way Xa drugs block coagulation involves inhibiting factor XA as a whole rather than a single step within the coagulation cascade meaning the dangers of over-thinning/bleeding decreases especially if it’s monitored adequately by health professionals.


Pradaxa or Dabigatran’s AKA “Poor Doctor’s panic” practically necessitated Dr Nick Riviera voice overs because It was quite popular until an accident happened.. Two actually.

1) Having no quick response antidote at hand means having something called PCC on standby whenever even minor bleeding occurred so K affects would be quickly reversed.

2) More importantly for us laughing laypeople–it had nasty side effects when taken with any non-statin cardiovascular medications making simple diseases worse instead.

Handling ‘blood thinners’ correctly would prevent thrombosis events; nowadays we have various options to choose based on patient condition – but never forget talk to (Place scientific expert here) before switching up your medical routine.

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