I strongly encourage all of you to do this research for both pharmaceutical and natural treatments. Some natural treatments are more harmful than you can imagine. There are no requirements for supplement companies to run a disclaimer on their ads or their bottles. These companies even try to market supplements as a "drug free" alternative. Natural supplements are drugs. They have side effects.
I have chosen not to use supplements that will change how my blood clots. Some of you may choose a different path. I do not trust my blood to unregulated supplements. Many of us struggle with different brands of warfarin and those variations are less than 4%! If 4% bothers your body, imagine what an unregulated variation may do to your body. Bleeding and clotting are important. I want to know how much of a substance is in me. Those natural supplements are chemicals and I want to have them carefully controlled. I do not want to bleed to death or clot due to variations in dosage. Also, I want a medication that is well tested.
Recently, I read an interesting article on this topic at Slate. I highly recommend it. It got me thinking a lot about our fear of "chemicals" and "drugs".
With that article and my recent addition to The Clot Spot, I want to play a guessing game. I will describe three common substances that can be used to prevent clots; you will guess what they are. Please leave your guesses in the comments.
This substance was discovered when a farmer noticed his cows were bleeding more than a healthy cow should bleed. He did some research and found out that the cows had consumed a large amount of a certain plant while munching the grass in their pasture. This natural substance is very effective at preventing clots and is still used for this purpose to this day.
This substance is fine when taken in certain amounts. It is very effective in preventing clots and often recommended by doctors. If the patient takes too much of this substance he or she will suffer muscle contractions, headache, seizures, nausea, and unresponsiveness. If this overdose is not addressed, it will lead to coma and death.
This substance is starting to show promise as a means to prevent pulmonary embolism. Although the research is conflicting, some doctors are recommending that patients use this substance. This substance increases the risk of fatal bleeding. Other side effects of this substance include vomiting, stomach pain, hives, rash, facial swelling, difficulty breathing, fast heart rate, fast breathing, clammy skin, loss of hearing, and death.
I will be back on to share the answers in a few days.