Many people take anticoagulant or anti-platelet medicines to reduce the chance of having a blood clot, because a blood clot can result in a heart attack or stroke.
These medicines are often called blood thinners. Common medications include:
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
Common anti-platelet medications include:
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
These medications can put you at higher risk of bleeding.
Falling While Taking a Blood Thinner
Even a minor fall can be serious if you are taking a blood thinner. Injuries can range from a bruise to serious bleeding. After a fall, you may see a bruise or blood at the injury site. Sometimes bleeding happens on the inside of the body. When this happens, you may feel faint or dizzy. You may experience a fast heart rate, trouble breathing, a headache, or feel less awake or alert. Bruises that get larger or cause more pain may also be a sign of bleeding on the inside.
If You Fall
- If any of the symptoms mentioned above occur, call your doctor or 911 immediately
- If active bleeding is present, apply pressure
- If there is a large amount of bleeding, or the bleeding will not stop, call 911 right away
- Watch areas that were hit during a fall
- Call 911 or go to the emergency room if you have an injury to your head; even a minor injury could cause bleeding inside your brain
Reduce Your Risk
- Keep your walking area clean and free of clutter
- Use night lights to light the way if you need to get up at night
- If you have a walker or cane, use it to help you walk safely
- DO NOT get up or walk alone if you feel dizzy or light-headed; report these symptoms to your doctor
- Have easy access to a phone so you can call for help if you are alone and fall
- Keep follow-up appointments with your doctor, who will check your blood levels and medication doses
Things to Remember
- Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace stating you are on blood thinners
- Carry a current list of your medications with you that includes the medication, the dose and the frequency; and over-the-counter medications, vitamins or herbal products
- List the name and number of your doctor on your medicine list in case of an emergency
- Check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins and herbal products; some can interfere with blood thinners
Disclaimer: This material provides general information only. It should not be used in place of the advice, instructions, or treatment given to you by your doctor or other health care professional.