What is a Blood Clot?
A blood clot is a mass of blood cells and blood components that form when a blood vessel is injured. Blood clots help stop bleeding after an injury and serve a valuable function in wound healing. It is normal and necessary for blood to clot. For example, when you cut your finger, your blood will begin to clot to stop your finger from bleeding.
Normal blood clots are rarely dangerous on their own. As part of the body’s natural healing mechanism, clots that have formed for whatever reason are usually broken down and reabsorbed by the body.
Why are Blood Clots a Serious Problem?
Abnormal blood clots that form within arteries and veins can block the normal flow of blood through the blood vessel, preventing blood and oxygen from reaching important organs and tissues. Blood clots can also break off from where they are formed, travel through the bloodstream and block blood vessels in other parts of the body.
Unnecessary blood clotting and blockage of blood flow can lead to serious and sometimes dangerous problems.
- If blood flow to the legs is decreased or blocked (known as a deep vein thrombosis or DVT), you may experience pain and swelling in your leg.
- If blood flow to the lungs is decreased or blocked (known as a pulmonary embolism), you may experience shortness of breath and sharp chest pain.
- If blood flow to the heart muscle is decreased or blocked, you may experience chest pain or a heart attack.
- If blood flow to the brain is decreased or blocked, you may experience a stroke.
Who is at Risk for Developing Unwanted Blood Clots?
A variety of medical problems or conditions can cause unwanted blood clots to form. Dangerous blood clots can form after surgery or in response to traumatic injury, such as car accidents. Additional medical problems or conditions that can increase your risk of developing unwanted blood clots include atrial fibrillation (a type of irregular heart beat), heart disease, cancer and having a mechanical heart valve.
- Your Rexall Family Pharmacist will provide you with the following as part of the program: The Rexall Resource - Clot Control, a comprehensive booklet filled with useful information to help you prevent blood clots and manage your warfarin therapy. If you have questions about warfarin, Clot Control has the answers.
- The Rexall Record - Warfarin, a journal in which you can record your warfarin doses, the results from your blood tests (INR results) and INR testing schedule. Please bring your Rexall Record - Warfarin each time you visit the pharmacy during the program.
- Information at each refill on how to get the most out of your medication and how to take control of your health.