Alcohol and Blood Thinners | Is Alcohol a Blood Thinner?
If you’ve ever wondered about alcohol and blood thinners or asked is alcohol a blood thinner, you’re not alone. These are common topics of discussion, and also important ones. The following provides some general information about alcohol and blood thinners, and also answers “is alcohol a blood thinner.”
Examples of when people might take blood thinners include if they have atrial fibrillation, they’ve had a heart valve replacement, or they have congenital heart defects.
There are two primary types of blood thinners, which include anticoagulants, and antiplatelet medicines. Anticoagulants slow your body’s making of clots, while antiplatelet medicines which include aspirin help prevent platelets from clumping and creating a clot. Anticoagulants include warfarin and heparin, while antiplatelets include aspirin.
Alcohol and blood thinners can interact with one another, and these medicines can also interact with vitamins, foods and other medicines, so it’s important that you give a full medical history to your physician if they’re going to prescribe one of these drugs.
Blood thinners can be a life-saving class of drugs, but they do have risks, and you should be aware of warnings related to alcohol and blood thinners if you’re taking them.
The consensus is that an occasional drink or moderate drinking is okay in terms of alcohol and blood thinners, but anything more than that could be risky. Regardless of what you read on the warning label regarding alcohol and blood thinners, it’s also important to make sure you ask your physician. Even if most people can combine a moderate amount of alcohol and blood thinners, you might have something, in particular, that would prevent you from being able to do that safely.
Even if you do combine alcohol and blood thinners, it’s essential not to drink large amounts because of the risks as well as the many interactions between the two that we don’t fully understand right now.
If you drink heavily or just any more than an occasional drink and you’re combining alcohol and blood thinners you’re at a greater risk of what’s called a significant bleeding accident. Combining alcohol and blood thinners may also lead to internal bleeding.
If you regularly combine alcohol and blood thinners and then you were to have a relatively common accident, as an example, it could lead to an increased level of bleeding that could require emergency care.
If you have a problem with alcohol, you should disclose this to your physician before they prescribe you a blood thinner and they can provide you with options and work with you on ways to address your drinking before you take blood thinners.
The risks of alcohol and blood thinners are even more dangerous if you also take an over-the-counter medicine or something that also has an interaction with blood thinners. These are all things that should be discussed with your doctor.
Something else to consider within the conversation of alcohol and blood thinners is the fact that while moderate drinking may be okay, the term moderate can mean something different to different people.
Sometimes the best rule of thumb with alcohol and blood thinners is to abstain from alcohol altogether.
Some unhealthy habits such as smoking can thicken the blood, while drinking can thin it.
There is research that shows having a moderate amount of alcohol can be good for your blood regarding preventing clotting, but that comes with its own set of risks as well.
For example, you should never rely only on alcohol to reduce the risk of things like heart attacks.
It’s also important to realize that even though alcohol might have some positive benefits on the blood, it can also have a lot of negative effects including organ damage. If you drink too much it’s also associated with things like obesity and high blood pressure, so the concept of alcohol as a blood thinner isn’t without significant risks.
If your doctor does prescribe you blood thinners, it’s extremely important that you follow their instructions, because they have decided that’s the right option for you for a reason.
So, to sum up a few things on the relationship between alcohol and blood thinners: If you’re on blood thinners, a small amount of alcohol may be okay, but more than that can lead to dangerous risks, and you should always discuss this with your doctor.
Is alcohol a blood thinner? Yes, to an extent which is why it can have a negative effect when too much is consumed with blood thinner medications, but not enough so that you should think it will successfully combat blood clots.
You should always speak with your physician about these topics, and with alcohol and blood thinners it’s important that you disclose if you feel you drink excessively so your doctor can help make the safest choice for you.
Have more questions about Alcohol abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
See alsoSee more topics
Seeking addiction treatment can feel overwhelming. We know the struggle, which is why we're uniquely qualified to help.
Your call is confidential, and there's no pressure to commit to treatment until you're ready. As a voluntary facility, we're here to help you heal -- on your terms. Our sole focus is getting you back to the healthy, sober life you deserve, and we are ready and waiting to answer your questions or concerns 24/7.Speak with an Intake Coordination Specialist now.352.771.2700