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The Coagulation Process, Thrombosis And Embolism, Heparin, How It Works, Oral Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants are complex organic or synthetic compounds, often carbohydrates, that help prevent the clotting or coagulation of blood. The most widely used of these is heparin, which blocks the formation of thromboplastin, an important clotting factor in the blood. Most anticoagulants are used for treating existing thromboses (clots that form in blood vessels) to prevent further clotting. Oral anticoagulants, such as warfarin and dicumarol, are effective treatments for venous thromboembolisms (a blockage in a vein caused by a clot), but heparin is usually prescribed for treating the more dangerous arterial thrombosis.

Anticoagulants are often mistakenly referred to as blood thinners. Their real role is not to thin the blood but to inhibit the biochemical series of events that lead to the unnatural coagulation of blood inside unsevered blood vessels, a major cause of stroke and heart attack.

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