ZocdocAnswersWill blood thinning therapy reduce my risk of stroke?

Question

Will blood thinning therapy reduce my risk of stroke?

My family has a very large history of stroke and I want to reduce my chances. I'm a 31 year old woman and am considering blood thinning therapy. Can I do this before a stroke?

Answer

That is a good question. Before starting any type of anticoagulation or anti platelet type therapy, it is best that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. Guidelines for starting blood thinning medications (whether antiplatalet or anticoagulation) depend on a variety of factors and preexisting medical problems. For instance, if you have a history of irregular heart beating known as atrial fibrillation, that may be an indication for starting coumadin. If you have a history of small strokes or TIAs, your primary care doctor may recommend aspirin or plavix. In your case, if you are healthy and have no underlying medical problems that require anticoagulation or antiplatlet therapy, then it is unlikely that you primary care doctor would recommend that you begin anything. There are risks associated with starting blood thinning medications and so these risks may outweigh any benefits in your case if you do not have any preexisting medical problems requiring you to be on blood thinning medication. In terms of your family history, there are a variety of underlying causes that may have caused them to have strokes and some of these do not cause increased risks in family members. For this reason, it is best to discuss starting blood thinning medications with your PCP prior to starting anything.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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