Research shows that thousands of strokes that transpire in the United States are preventable if a larger number of patients with AFib—a condition that affects the rhythm of the heart—were placed on anticoagulants (blood thinners).
AFib, also known as atrial fibrillation, is a condition where the individual has an abnormal heart rhythm that feels like fluttering. It can lead to the pooling of blood, forming blood clots. When a clot ruptures, it can travel to the brain, resulting in a stroke. Even though this fluttering is not an issue on its own, it can result in serious complications, such as a stroke and disabilities.
Sadly, not many patients receive the AFib treatment they require even though just taking anticoagulants can lower a patient’s risk of stroke substantially.
Reality of Treatments for Stroke AFib
A new study observed over 650,000 patients with AFib who were under the care of a cardiologist for several years across the nation. The study revealed that almost 40% of all patients had not been placed on the anticoagulants necessary to reduce their risk of stroke. Additionally, researchers found that upwards of 35% of these patients who had been on a blood thinner were taking the wrong dose. Experts are now looking for reasons as to why more people who should be on blood thinners are not placed on them to lower their risk of stroke.
Atrial fibrillation is one of the leading causes of stroke, especially among the elderly. While blood thinners do increase the risk of heavy bleeding, their pros easily outnumber their cons.
In most cases, blood thinners are avoided by cardiologists due to patients’ age bracket. If they are over a certain age, they are less likely to be prescribed a blood thinner. Conversely, this demographic is at the highest risk of experiencing a stroke, meaning they are the ones who need to be put on blood thinners the most.
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