What Caregivers Need to Know about Blood Thinners and Stroke

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Stroke Caused by Blood Thinners

Blood thinners are often prescribed to prevent stroke survivors from having another stroke (the risk is 30% greater after the first stroke) or for patients identified as being at risk for having a stroke. While many patients respond well to blood thinners, family caregivers do need to be aware of possible side effects and adverse reactions that may occur.

Side Effects

As a leading provider of elderly home care in Columbus, we know that each patient is going to react differently to blood thinners, sometimes exhibiting side effects that will likely require adjustments in medication. The potential side effects, ranging from mild to severe, depend on the type of blood thinner prescribed.

  • Aggrenox – abdominal pain, issues with digestion, diarrhea
  • Aspirin – stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting
  • Coumadin – abdominal discomfort, profuse bleeding, easy bruising
  • Lovenox – skin irritation, nausea
  • Plavix – stomach pain, muscle aches, nose bleeds

Allergic Reactions

Caregivers also need to watch out for possible allergic reactions. Such reactions can range from minor skin irritations to swelling of the hands and lips. In some cases, a patient may have trouble breathing due to a severe allergic reaction. Any noticed changes should be reported to your loved one’s doctor or primary care physician as soon as possible.

Dietary Monitoring

Patients on Coumadin (one of the most common medications among stroke patients) have to watch their intake of vitamin K since this blood thinner decreases the amount of vitamin K available for use elsewhere in the body. Foods rich in vitamin K (lettuce, broccoli, kale and other leafy greens) should be monitored closely, ensuring that the right amount of these foods are consumed on a daily basis to maintain safe vitamin levels.

Ensuring Safety & Comfort

Regardless of the type of blood thinner that is prescribed, caregivers need to continuously check for signs of internal bleeding, which can be indicated by the color of the stool and urine or stiffness in the abdomen. Caregivers are also encouraged to be as observant as possible and to report anything that appears out of the ordinary to the patient’s doctor.

If you need assistance providing care for a loved one after a stroke, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Columbus today. Our highly trained and compassionate caregivers specialize in Columbus stroke care and are able to assist with in-home activities such as nutritious meal preparation, safety monitoring, personal care, and medication reminders, and can also provide care for seniors recovering in Columbus hospitals. To request more information on this valuable home care service, reach out to a friendly Care Manager at 614-481-8888.


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