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Side Effects of Blood Thinners in Elderly Adults

Blood thinners, or anticoagulants, are helpful in prolonging the amount of time it takes for your body to form a blood clot. However, they also come with side effects, such as bleeding. That is why it is important to keep it under control. One may wonder, “How do I stop bleeding when on blood thinners?” In this post, we will review the side effects of blood thinners as well as methods on how to stop bleeding on blood thinners.

Why Are Blood Thinners Prescribed to Seniors?

We’ll go over how to stop bleeding when on blood thinners later on but with such harmful side effects, one may wonder why even prescribe them? Seniors have a higher risk of getting blood clots and blood thinners can help their body prevent the formation of thrombin. This enzyme plays a role in forming blood clots. There are several health conditions that blood thinners could easily combat. These include:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

  • Hip or knee replacement surgery

  • Nonvalvular atrial fibrillation

  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

  • Pulmonary embolism

Next up, we will review the side effects before delving into how to stop bleeding on blood thinners.

Side Effects of Blood Thinners in Elderly

You may be wondering how to stop a cut bleeding when on blood thinners but there are also numerous other side effects to blood thinners. Some common side effects of blood thinners in the elderly include:

  • Back pain

  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction

  • Bleeding gums

  • Bruising easily

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Increased risk of bleeding

  • Nosebleeds

  • Numbness

  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts

  • Weakness

Other more serious side effects include:

  • Bloody or black stools

  • Coughing up blood and blood clots

  • Red, pink, or brown urine

  • Uncontrollable bleeding

  • Vomit that resembles coffee grounds

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Finally, we’ll review how to stop bleeding if you’re on blood thinners.

How to Stop Bleeding When You’re on Blood Thinners

In this section, we will review how to stop minor bleeding when on blood thinners as well as how to take care of more serious issues.

  • Bleeding gums: Press firmly against the bleeding part with a damp washcloth or tea bag for 30 minutes. Call your loved one’s doctor or dentist if the bleeding does not stop after two hours. For the next 24 hours, they should not drink hot beverages, use a straw, smoke, spit, or rinse. Additionally, they should avoid hard foods for two to three days.

  • Nosebleeds: Have your loved one squeeze their nostrils with their fingers below the bone for five minutes straight with no breaks. If this does not work, try a decongestant nasal spray. Put two squirts in the bleeding nostril, squeeze the nostrils together for 15 minutes, and repeat if the nose is still bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after three tries, take your loved one to the emergency room immediately.

  • Small cuts: Put a clean towel or bandage on the wound and press on it firmly until the bleeding stops. You should then clean the wound with a saline solution or iodine to get bacteria and dirt out.

  • Large cuts: Put a clean cloth, towel, or bandage on the wound. Do not try to clean the wound because it may make it bleed more. Press on the wound firmly (unless there’s something stuck in the skin) until the bleeding stops. Keep it in place with medical tape or your hands. If blood leaks through, add another cloth, towel, or bandage and keep pressing. Raise the injury above your loved one’s heart if possible. Call 911 immediately if the bleeding doesn’t stop, the wound has a bad smell, your loved one has a temperature over 101 degrees, or if their wound has redness, pus, or swelling.

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