In a recent study, 99% of subjects aged 65 or older had evidence of microbleeds; and closer examination of the cranial MRI images revealed an increased number of detectable microbleeds (i.e., the closer they looked, the more microbleeds they found).
Microbleeds in the brain are thought to be a precursor of hemorrhagic stroke.
Cerebral microbleeds (MBs) are small chronic brain hemorrhages of the small vessels of the brain.
If Microbleeds Cause Hemorrhagic Stroke, Should I be on a Blood Thinner?
The fact that almost everyone 65 or older has microbleeds is astonishing and worrisome, particularly if you have A-Fib and have to take anticoagulants. Anticoagulants cause bleeding. That’s how they work.
In plain language, this study indicates that cerebral microbleeds lead to or cause hemorrhagic stroke. It’s not surprising then that some doctors are reluctant to prescribe heavy-duty anticoagulants to older A-Fib patients.
Being older and already having microbleeds only makes taking anticoagulants all the more worrisome.
Risks of Taking Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners)
Taking almost any prescription medication has trade-offs. Older A-Fib patients find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
In the case of anticoagulants, on one hand you get protection from having an A-Fib stroke (which often leads to death or severe disability), but on the other hand you have an increased risk of bleeding.
For those over 65 who already have microbleeds, … Continue reading this report…->
Atrial Fibrillation patients often search for unbiased information and guidance about medicines and drug therapy treatments. These are answers to the most frequently asked questions by patients and their families. (Click on the question to jump to the answer.)
11. “I am on Coumadin (warfarin) to thin my blood and prevent A-Fib blood clots. Do I now need to avoid foods with Vitamin K which would interfere with the blood thinning effects of Coumadin?” UPDATED
12. “The A-Fib.com web site claims that an A-Fib stroke is often worse than other causes of stroke. Why is that? If a clot causes a stroke, what difference does it make if it comes from A-Fib or other causes? Isn’t the damage the same?“
16. “I have to be on aspirin for stroke prevention. Which is better—the low-dose baby aspirin (81 mg) or a high dose (325 mg)? Should I take the immediate-release (uncoated) or the enteric-coated aspirin?”
17. “I don’t want to be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. I’ve had a successful catheter ablation and am no longer in A-Fib. But my doctor says I need to be on a blood thinner. I’ve been told that, even after a successful catheter ablation, I could still have “silent” A-Fib—A-Fib episodes that I’m not aware of. Is there anything I can do to get off of blood thinners?“
21. “I”ve read about a new anticoagulant, edoxaban, as an alternative to warfarin (Coumadin) for reducing risk of stroke. For A-Fib patients, how does it compare to warfarin? Should I consider edoxaban instead of the other NOACs?”
Last updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2016
14. “Are natural blood thinners for blood clot treatment as good as prescription blood thinners like warfarin?”
There are a number of foods and supplements that are known to thin the blood. These include foods with high amounts of aspirin-like substances called salicylates, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E supplements, and foods with natural antibiotic properties.
Healthy adults can greatly reduce the risk of blood clots and cardiovascular disease by modifying their lifestyle and adding nutritional supplements proven to support cardiovascular health. But this site is not recommending or advising that people switch from prescription anticoagulants to natural blood thinners.
No Studies that ‘Natural’ is as Effective as Warfarin
As of yet, there aren’t any blind studies which demonstrate any natural alternative (or combination) is as effective against stroke as warfarin (Coumadin) or the new NOACs.
Certain foods and supplements may be “natural” and thin the blood, but there’s little research on their effectiveness to prevent clots in those at high-risk for stroke, such as A-Fib patients.
What’s more, there isn’t a way to track their effectiveness in the same way doctors can monitor the action of warfarin through routine blood tests.
If considering a switch to natural blood thinners, do not stop taking your anticoagulation medication. Talk to your doctor first.
Patients with Lone Atrial Fibrillation
Natural blood thinners may be considered for patients with “lone” Atrial Fibrillation, that is, patients who have had A-Fib occur only once or twice, are young, and have an otherwise healthy heart (normal size, no enlarged chambers or leaky valves, not otherwise prone to blood clots or other heart risk factors like diabetes, etc.). These low-risk patients may be candidates for natural alternatives to warfarin (Coumadin). (Historically, these patients may have been put on aspirin.)
If considering a switch to natural blood thinners, do not stop taking your anticoagulation medication. Talk to your doctor first. (But realize that your doctor isn’t likely to tell you to stop taking your warfarin or NOAC prescription.)
Seek Holistic-Minded Practitioners
Instead, you may want to seek out doctors who are holistically-minded and have knowledge of natural medicines; for example, a doctor who practices complementary or integrative medicine or a naturopathic physician. They can partner with you to pursue natural alternatives to prescription medicines.
For example, on his website, the Integrative Cardiologist and anti-aging specialist Dr. Stephen Sinatra discusses combating blood clots with this regimen of natural blood thinners:
• Fish oil (2–3 grams daily)
• Garlic (1–2 grams daily in capsule form)
• Nattokinase (100 mg daily)
• Vitamin E as mixed tocopherols (200–300 IU daily)
• Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple (600 mg daily)
For additional advice on natural ways to prevent blood clots, visit www.drsinatra.com.
Talk to Your Doctor: Supplements Can Interfere with Coagulation
Always talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your treatment plan. Some ‘natural’ supplements may interact with your prescription meds (when taken alone or in combination) or interfere with coagulation and increase your bleeding risk.
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Last updated: Monday, January 2, 2017