Health Not

What Is Blood Thinner?

Platelets and clots formationClots forming in the blood stream can be dangerous. They may block blood vessels and this can lead to a heart attack, or a cardiovascular accident (stroke). These clots appear in the blood stream due to too many platelets. Some people are more susceptible to blood clot formation and this is why they may require blood thinner medication.

Why Too Many Platelets Lead to Blood Clots

Platelets are needed for our survival. In fact if they fall too low we could bleed to death from even a small cut. The ability of platelets to form clots allows the body to repair broken tissue, but this ability is also potentially harmful if platelets build up and cause clots inside the body that can block blood vessels. It is vital that humans are able to have platelets at the right levels within the body because having them too high or too low can be dangerous.

What is Blood Thinner Medication?

This type of medication is also referred to as an anti-coagulant. There are many different examples of this type of drug but the most famous of all is Aspirin. It works by reducing the number of platelets in the blood stream and thus making it less likely for clots to occur. For a lot of people with coagulation problems the only medication they will ever require is half a tablet of Aspirin.

Aspirin is not going to be the most suitable anti-coagulant for everyone. In some cases it won’t be strong enough to do the work that is required. There can also be unwanted side effects with using this medication, and there are particular concerns when it is given regularly to children. Aspirin can cause Reye’s syndrome; a potentially fatal condition where different organs within the body are damaged.

There are many possible alternatives to Aspirin and probably the most famous of these is a drug called Wafarin. With this medication it is possible to constantly monitor the blood levels and adjust the Wafarin dosage in response to this. It is usual for the patient to be put on a regular dosage once the right combination is found. Those who take Wafarin are required to carry around a card that states that they are on this medication. If surgery or dental treatment is ever required it must be known that the individual is on this type of blood thinner. As well as Wafarin there are also a number of other new drugs available such as Plavix.

Safe Use of Blood Thinner Medication

It is important that anyone who uses blood thinner medication follows any instructions provided by their doctor. This drug could potentially cause problems if it is not used correctly. You should never make any changes to your anti coagulant therapy before first consulting your doctor. It is also not a good idea to start taking daily Aspirin unless you have been advised to do so by your health care professional. If you take this medication as prescribed though, it can greatly reduce your risk of clot related emergencies.

Health Not

What Is a Lung Nodule?

If your doctor informs you that you have a lung nodule you will likely be worried. This type of tissue can be cancerous, but it is important to make clear that most times they will turn out to be benign. This type of tissue growth is quite common but it is important that we have it investigated to ensure that it isn’t anything too sinister.

What is a Lung Nodule?

A lung nodule is small mass of tissue located in the lungs. You will also sometimes hear this referred to as a pulmonary nodule but it means the exact same thing. If we have such a nodule then it can cause symptoms such as chest tightness; it is usually while investigating this that it’s discovered that we have this type of tissue. It will usually show up on an x-ray as a white area in the lung.

There are many possible causes of lung nodules. Sometimes the nodule is there due to TB or it could be from other infections. Sometimes these nodules appear because there are abnormalities in the blood vessels, and there can also be benign lumps where the cause is unclear. If the lung nodule is bigger than 25mm then there is a higher risk that it is cancerous. This is why it is usually the larger nodules that are the cause of most concern.

How to Decide if a Lung Nodule is Sinister

The easiest way for a doctor to decide if a lung nodule is a reason for concern is to compare a current x-ray to an older one. If this lump was there in the past and it hasn’t changed in size then the chances are that it is harmless. The doctor can also reach similar conclusions by comparing CT scans over time if these are available.

If the doctor is not convinced that the lung nodule is harmless they might order a lung biopsy. This procedure involves removing a tiny bit of the tissue to examine it more closely. To perform this investigation it can other be done by creating a cut in the chest or by a bronchoscope – a tube that is passed through your mouth. Once the tissue is removed then it will be tested to decide if it is cancerous or not.

How to Deal with a Lung Nodule

If the lung nodule is not causing too many problems and it is benign then the usual way of dealing with it will be to leave it alone. If it is found that the nodule is cancerous then it will be removed as long as the progression of the disease is still in the relatively early stages. Sometimes it won’t be possible to fully remove the growth and then other options like radiotherapy and chemotherapy should be considered.

Finding out that we have a lung nodule is a worry, but in the vast majority of cases it is not going to be anything too serious. It is important though that we follow the advice of our doctor if further investigations or treatments are required.