Drinking alcohol can sometimes be a sensitive problem between patients and doctors. Can you drink beer on blood thinners?
Small or moderate alcohol thinns the blood, reducing the risk of blood clots. But moderation is key – and doctors don’t recommend drinking alcohol to protect against deep vein thrombosis.
What are blood thinners for?
Blood thinners are used to stop the growth of existing blood clots in the body, which can cause serious problems. They also help the body break down the clot and prevent the clot from moving elsewhere in the body. The most common example of using a blood thinner is when a patient develops deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot in the leg veins. Untreated Some people who are at high risk of deep vein thrombosis may be put on blood thinners. to prevent deep vein thrombosis. E.g:
- People who have undergone lower limb orthopedic surgery may undergo anticoagulation for several weeks.
- People who have had more than one DVT or PE can be placed on antiplatelet plates or anticoagulants on an ongoing basis.
- People with certain blood clotting disorders (such as factor V Leiden) may be given anticoagulant therapy.
Warfarin (coumadin) is a commonly used blood-thinning medicine (oral coumarin anticoagulant). It is used to prevent or treat blood clots in the veins, arteries or heart, which can reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack or other serious illness.
Combining alcohol and blood thinners such as warfarin can lead to drug interactions. Patients receiving warfarin should avoid acute alcohol intoxication, but available information suggests that low alcohol consumption (1 to 2 drinks a day) has little effect on warfarin response.
Alcohol abuse increases the risk of blood clots and cardiovascular damage
- Drinking too much increases blood clotting problems through several mechanisms.
- Liver damage: Alcohol is processed by the liver, and excessive drinking damages this organ.
- Platelets: too much alcohol causes an increase in blood platelets, which is why they are more likely to clot randomly.
- Weight gain: Alcohol has a lot of calories, and even among those who prefer to drink too much than eat meals, there is an increased risk of fat gain.
- Sedentary lifestyle: People who sit for a long time, especially on airplanes, generally increase the risk of blood clots.
- Sex differences: excessive drinking increases the risk of arterial fibrillation in both men and women, but the risk for men is much greater.
- Strokes: Drinking more than two portions of alcohol a day increases the risk of stroke, which can be caused by a blood clot in the brain, by 50 percent.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Drinking more than three ounces of alcohol per week – two shots of hard alcohol – increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis by 5 percent.