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Can you tell if your blood thinner is at the right dosage?

| Jun 9, 2017 | Doctor Errors

Blood thinners can save your life by preventing serious complications caused by “thick” blood — like blood clots, strokes and atrial fibrillation.

Unfortunately, many patients on blood-thinning medications aren’t getting the right dose.

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic focused solely on those receiving blood thinners for atrial fibrillation (a condition which causes a rapid, irregular heartbeat and can lead to a stroke), found that nearly one out of every six patients wasn’t getting the correct dose.

Since the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that as many as six million people in the nation are on blood thinners for atrial fibrillation, that means there are potentially 1 million people walking around on either underdosed or overdosed on their blood thinner.

Underdosing is difficult to detect through observation alone, although you can do some self-care that may help. A daily check of your legs, especially your calves — where tiny, painless blood clots can sometimes lurk — may reveal an otherwise invisible problem.

Overdosing generally has more outwardly visible signs that patients can detect — if they’re educated on what they should be observing. Some common symptoms include:

— Nosebleeds, especially spontaneous ones

— Excessive bleeding from minor cuts

— Bleeding gums

— Blood in your urine

— Bruises from even fairly light contact

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an emergency appointment with your doctor. Thin blood is just as dangerous — if not more — than thick blood. Thin blood can’t carry enough oxygen to your brain, so you can suffer brain damage. Confusion, dizziness and falls aren’t uncommon with overly-thin blood. You also run the risk of bleeding to death from a cut or dying from internal bleeding after something like a tumble down a couple of steps.

Much of the blame for injuries due to improperly prescribed blood thinners falls on the doctor ordering the prescription. Too many doctors are lax about patient education, never giving their patients the information they need to spot a problem. Others fail to monitor patients on blood thinners the way that they should.

If you have suffered an injury due to improperly prescribed blood thinners or a doctor’s failure to educate and monitor you, contact an attorney to discuss the possibility of compensation.

Source: Science Daily, “One in six taking blood-thinning drugs may not be getting right dose,” June 05, 2017


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