A Coumadin bracelet or Coumadin jewelry is probably the last thing on anybody's mind when dealing with a heart attack, stroke or blood clotting diagnosis. After all, bracelets, necklaces and anklets may not seem to serve any purpose beyond being decorative. However, when it comes to chronic diseases like heart conditions, being quickly identified as taking a blood thinner such as Coumadin is often necessary.
This is why Coumadin bracelets are often worn, not just to inform anyone about the wearer's health status, but to alert people, such as first responders, first-aid staff and medical professionals of the appropriate action to perform when the wearer is involved in an emergency.
Coumadin (also known as warfarin sodium) is a prescription medicine used to treat blood clots and to lower the chance of blood clots forming in your body. Blood clots can cause a stroke, heart attack, or other serious conditions if they form in the legs or lungs. Coumadin may have been prescribed to help you: Reduce your risk of forming blood clots if you have had a heart-valve replacement or if you have an irregular, rapid heartbeat, called atrial fibrillationLower the risk of death if you've had a heart attack, as well as lowering your risk of having another heart attack, stroke, and having blood clots move to another part of your body
Unfortunately, Coumadin can cause bleeding which can be serious and sometimes
lead to death. You may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take Coumadin and:
- are 65 years or older
- have a history of stomach or intestinal bleeding
- have high blood pressure (hypertension)
- have a history of stroke, or “mini-stroke” (transient ischemic attack or TIA)
- have serious heart disease
- have a low blood count or cancer
- have had trauma, such as an accident or surgery
- have kidney problems
- take other medicines that increase your risk of bleeding, including:
- a medicine that contains heparin
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- take warfarin sodium for a long time. Warfarin sodium is the active ingredient in Coumadin.
Many people with heart conditions take medication to keep prevent blood clots. Missed doses of Coumadin may result in increased risk of stroke.
The Importance of Coumadin Identification
When people with heart problems were first encouraged to wear Coumadin bracelets, some people were not very supportive of getting "tagged" as an having heart-related ailments or being at risk for stroke. However, the fact that the bracelets were medical alert tags and could help in an emergency showed why it was a necessity.
It is important that those suffering from the condition and prescribed Coumadin are properly identified with a medical bracelet in case of an emergency. Because Coumadin is a blood thinner, the risk of increased bleeding is ever present. A Coumadin ID bracelet is helpful for proper identification of the reason for the increased bleeding. Additionally, if surgery is required, special measures would have to be taken beforehand to reduce the risk of too much blood loss.
A Coumadin medical bracelet will alert medical professionals to the condition and the medications being taken. Information regarding a patient's primary doctor may also be included on the Coumadin ID bracelet.
Coumadin patients require special medical care and attention. In an emergency they may not always be able to speak or communicate. He or she may even be completely unresponsive. Furthermore, an emergency may occur when a relative or a friend who has knowledge about the person’s medications may not be around. In these cases, a Coumadin bracelet can silently inform the attending medical personnel of the medication and underlying condition.
Preparing for an Emergency
Coumadin increases your risk of bleeding, which can be severe or life-threatening. In case the unthinkable happens, you should always wear a Coumadin bracelet. It should list important information such as condition, all medications taking on an ongoing basis, and an emergency contact. It can be useful to include your name in a situation where you may not be able to talk. Having a Coumadin bracelet will let the medical staff know how to make the appropriate medical decisions that can save your life. In case you’re in an accident, medical professionals will know what your likely medications are and what not to give you.
Always ensure that you or your loved one is wearing a Coumadin bracelet at all times and especially before leaving the house. If necessary, pack an extra bracelet during special trips, particularly if you will be travelling alone or leaving town for an extended period. Always wear the bracelet where it can be spotted easily and avoid taking it off. There are new styles to fit your personality and wearing it can mean the difference between living a healthy life and suffering serious medical consequences.