If you’ve recently had a heart attack or stroke, or have been diagnosed with a cardiovascular issue, there’s a good chance your doctor prescribed a blood thinner. Blood thinners do exactly as their name suggests. By acting as an anticoagulant, they thin the blood and help it flow more smoothly through your veins and organs, helping to prevent clotting that can put you at increased risk for a heart attack or stroke. While blood thinners are an important part of your treatment plan, there are things you need to keep in mind when taking them.
AFib, or atrial fibrillation, a problem with the way the heart beats, is the most common cause of stroke in both men and women. But some recent studies have shown it might be even more dangerous for women.
AFib is caused when the atria, the two top chambers of the heart, fibrillate (or beat) irregularly or too quickly. Because the chambers don’t contract strongly, blood is allowed to pool in the heart. This increases the chance of clotting.
Men are more likely to get AFib than women, but it’s the most common heart rhythm abnormality in women.
Your heart has a big job. It has to circulate blood throughout your body. Conditions like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and a myriad of other diseases place extra stress on your heart and demand a lot from your body. After a while, these conditions weaken your heart so that it doesn’t efficiently pump blood anymore. This is congestive heart failure – a long-term weakening of the heart that leads to a buildup of fluid in the lungs and body tissues – and it’s not uncommon. The American Heart Association estimates that 5.3 million Americans suffer from congestive heart failure.