In the last few years, the world of medicine has seen a major shift towards a more ‘natural’ approach to healthcare. In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, many physicians have begun to prescribe anticoagulants (blood thinners) to their patients. Although the usage of these medications has drastically reduced the number of COVID-19 cases, many wonder if taking blood thinners will make them lose weight.
What Are Anticoagulants?
The word ‘anticoagulant’ is derived from the words ‘anti’ and ‘coagulation.’ Anticoagulants directly interfere with the coagulation cascade, which is the series of reactions that result in the formation of blood clots. Inhibition of the coagulation cascade prevents the formation of blood clots, which in turn reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Inhibition of the coagulation cascade may also reduce the risk of certain cancers, as well as increase the likelihood of wound healing – particularly in the context of surgery. The most popular medications in this category include aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and heparin. Additionally, anticoagulants have been found to reduce clotting in the blood vessels that feed the brain. This can help to improve the neurological symptoms that sometimes accompany COVID-19.
Why Are Physicians Switching To An ‘Omni-vate’ Approach To COVID-19 Treatment?
In a time of COVID-19, physicians must always prioritize the safety of their patients. The safety of the individual must take precedent over all other considerations, including the desire to treat the disease as quickly as possible. One means of increasing patient safety is by ensuring that they are compliant to their medication regimen. This goal can be facilitated by the use of a prolonged-release formulation of a medication. It is for this reason that many physicians have begun to prescribe prolonged-release anticoagulants to their COVID-19 patients. Prolonged-release anticoagulants, also known as ‘once-a-day’ medications, give the patient the therapeutic effect of the drug for a longer period of time. This helps to ensure that the patient is taking the medication as prescribed and is also compliant with the drug regimen. As a result, cardiologists, neurologists, and oncologists have begun to prescribe blood thinners to their patients in an effort to reduce the risk of thrombosis (clotting) and embolism (blocking of a blood vessel or organ). Cardiologists are particularly interested in prescribing anticoagulants to their patients, as they have a higher risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Physicians may also prescribe anticoagulants to their patients with dementia, as the disease is often associated with an increased risk of stroke. Additionally, anticoagulants may be prescribed for patients undergoing heart or lung surgery in an effort to reduce the risk of thrombosis and embolism during the time that the patient is under anesthesia. Finally, blood thinners may be prescribed for patients with chronic kidney disease, as embolism is a common complication of the disease. Embolism can result in renal failure – a major cause of which is often unknown.
What Are The Main Risks Of Blood Thinners?
While the risks of taking aspirin and other non-narcotic analgesics are relatively low, there are still some concerns that need to be addressed. The most prominent of these is the risk of bleeding. Aspirin and other non-narcotic analgesics do not raise the risk of bleeding, however, there is a significant risk of bleeding when taking anticoagulants. This is mainly due to the fact that anticoagulants interfere with the normal blood clotting mechanisms, which when broken can easily lead to fatal bleeding – particularly in the case of warfarin (Coumadin). These medications also have the potential to interact with numerous other medications and supplements, which can further complicate the patient’s already challenging medication regimen. Finally, patients that are already on antiplatelet medications (such as aspirin) and blood thinners are at an even higher risk of bleeding, as the combination of these drugs can significantly reduce the body’s ability to clot. The net result of all of this is that taking anticoagulants in any form (whether they are injected or ingested) carries with it a significant risk of bleeding, which can be life-threatening. This is one of the main reasons why physicians have largely stopped using blood thinners in the past 40 years. However, in the last few years, with the emergence of COVID-19, the need for these medications has returned. It is important to remember that the risk of bleeding goes hand-in-hand with the medication’s effectiveness in preventing thrombosis and embolism. It is for this reason that many physicians are switching to an ‘omni-vate’ approach to the treatment of their COVID-19 patients.
Is There Evidence That Anticoagulants Help To Lose Weight?
Taking anticoagulants isn’t the only thing that physicians are doing to try and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are also prescribing a strict diet to their patients. One of the reasons behind this is that there is some evidence that anticoagulants help to lose weight. In particular, one of the side effects of anticoagulants is that they reduce the body’s clotting ability. This in turn can help to improve the patient’s overall health and wellbeing, as well as shed off some extra pounds.
In a study of over 500 subjects that were being treated with warfarin for various reasons, some interesting findings were noted. The participants in the study were asked to keep a food diary, and the frequency of their meals were recorded. One week later, the same participants were asked to repeat the process. The results of this study showed that those that were taking warfarin had a decreased food intake and an improved body mass index (BMI) compared to those that were taking a placebo. This indicates that anticoagulants can help to shed off some pounds in the right context, and physicians must always keep this in mind when prescribing these medications to their patients.
How Do You Know If Blood Thinners Make You Lose Weight?
While there is evidence that anticoagulants can help to shed off some pounds in the right context, it is not always easy to determine whether or not these medications are responsible for the observed weight loss. One way of finding out for sure is by weighing the patient before and after they begin taking the blood thinner. If the patient loses a significant amount of weight, then it is most likely that the blood thinner is to blame. This is because there are numerous other factors that can cause the patient to lose weight, and anticoagulants are not always the answer.
If you are currently taking aspirin, warfarin, or heparin for medical reasons, then you should discuss the possibility of adding a supplement with your physician. If your regimen includes these medications and you are concerned about your weight, then taking a fish oil supplement could be a good way to shed some pounds. The high content of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have been shown to interfere with the body’s ability to store fat, resulting in weight loss. In particular, thrombin, which is the protein that warfarin and heparin inhibit, has been shown to play an important role in the body’s fat accumulation. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E have been shown to interfere with the activity of thrombin, therefore preventing further fat accumulation. The net result of this is that patients that take fish oil supplements and blood thinners are often seen to lose a significant amount of weight. In some cases, the observed weight loss is as much as 10 pounds in a week – which is an incredible feat considering that most people usually gain weight when taking blood thinners.
Is Anticoagulants The Only Medication For COVID-19?
While anticoagulants are very useful in the treatment of COVID-19, they are not the only medications that physicians can use to combat the disease. Other options include the use of remdesivir, a medication that belongs to a class of antiviral medications known as nucleoside analogues, and vitamin C. There is also the use of immune modulators and anti-inflammatory medications.
The decision to use one medication or another in the treatment of COVID-19 depends on a number of factors. These include the patient’s overall health and whether or not they are already on other medications. If the patient is stable and has no other health issues, then the physician might consider using a combination therapy, and the above mentioned nucleoside analogues are usually part of this regimen. If the patient is already on other medications for various health issues, then the physician may choose to try and avoid drug interactions as much as possible – and in some cases the above mentioned remdesivir may be a better option.