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What does my doctor mean when he calls warfarin a "blood-thinner"?

When your doctor calls warfarin a "blood thinner," he means that it prevents blood clots from forming in your blood. When blood is thick, as might happen if you are dehydrated or is exposed to the air after a cut, it can clot more quickly. So, if thick blood clots quickly, then thin blood should not clot quickly. However, using that term is not the best way to describe what really happens with blood. Blood clots can put you at risk for heart attack, stroke and other serious medical problems. Warfarin is prescribed for people with:
  • certain types of irregular heartbeat
  • artificial replacement heart valves
  • venous thrombosis (swelling and blood clot in a vein)
  • pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.