During your daily activity, you may fall or harm yourself. The body has a natural method of repairing itself after an injury. How is this possible? It is done through the clotting process. Blood clot form to prevent or stop bleeding after the tissues has been injured; loss of blood can be fatal. Blood clotting starts when the platelets cluster together and activate the clotting process by producing some chemicals; the process is complicated. The final stage of blood clotting involves thrombin (it is an enzyme in your blood plasma) which converts fibrinogen to fibrin. The fibrin holds the platelets together, resulting in the formation of a blood clot. That’s how the body reacts to defend itself. However, think of this, if a blood clot forms abnormally inside your blood vessels, what would happen? The doctor may prescribe Heparin injection.
How Heparin is Used to Prevent & Treat the Formation of Abnormal Blood Clot
Heparin sodium injection is also termed as unfractionated or standard Heparin injection. It is a blood thinner and belongs to a class of medication known as anticoagulants. It is used to treat and prevent blood clots, which can be harmful to the body. An abnormal blood clot that forms within the blood vessel is known as a thrombus. A thrombus may be dangerous as it can travel through the bloodstream after detaching itself and may eventually lodge in the blood vessel. A clot in your bloodstream is referred to an embolus. Consequently, the embolus may block blood supply to your vital organs like:
The blockage of blood supply to crucial organs is known as thromboembolism and is life threatening, for example, reduced blood may result in symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD). That’s why it’s advisable to visit a health facility if you come across signs of CAD for the doctor to administer the injection Heparin. Inquire from the medical practitioner if they offer a class on how to give Heparin injection. When your heart is deprived of adequate blood flow you may come across the following causes of chest discomfort:
- Chest pain
You may mistake the above signs for heartburn. Other symptoms of CAD are:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in your arms or the left shoulder
You may come across additional symptoms s a result of restricted blood flow and don’t ignore them, instead consult your physician.
How Does the Drug Work?
Heparin subcutaneous injection works by making thrombin inactive in the clotting process. Fibrin formation is halted; this stops or prevents the formation of blood clots. If some blood clots are already formed in the blood, it prevents the clots from growing bigger and causing harm such as inhibiting normal blood flow in the body; untreated blood clot may trigger a heart attack. To summarize this section, subcutaneous Heparin injection is used in the following situations:
- Treat and prevent blood clot formation in the veins of your legs (deep vein thrombosis)
- Treat and prevent blood clots going to the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Treating blood clots in patients with coronary artery disease
- Preventing formation of additional blood clots after a heart attack
- Preventing blood clotting when the blood is being filtered during management of kidney failure or a heart-lung bypass surgery
Heparin medication is given through injection and there are sites for the injection. A health professional may give the injection at the hospital or you may be trained on how to give a heparin injection at home; if you aren’t comfortable giving the injection, a loved one, for example, your spouse may be given the directions on Heparin injection technique. The physician will prescribe the dosage of the medication. While on the medication, always carry an identification badge with you to show you are on Heparin, for more information on this, you may contact the doctor.
It’s crucial to note that the drug should not be injected into your muscle; the nurse will give details on where to give Heparin injection that is the best Heparin subcutaneous sites. The drug is available in different strength, serious Heparin injection side effects may occur if you take the wrong strength. Consult the physician to confirm the dosage. Ensure you have the correct strength of subcutaneous injection Heparin prescribed by your health care provider; in the case of an under dose or overdose, inform the doctor. Which are the injection sites for Heparin? They include:
- Abdominal area
Although the abdominal area is the most preferred Heparin inject site, you shouldn’t inject the same area every time; rotate the sites of the injections. You may experience unwanted effects on the site injected like bruising, pain, redness and swelling. After Heparin injection administration you shouldn’t rub the area as this may result to further bleeding and bruising. After a few days, the effects on the spot injected reduce. However, in case the negative effects persist, consult the health care provider. As a remedy for Heparin injection site bruising, you can use ice cube before cleaning the area or once you have injected the medication. The nurse or a trained medical professional may give some more remedies to relieve the pain. Remember to restrain from injecting a bruised area as it may worsen, although it may be the easiest spot to give the injection at home.
What to Remember About the Drug
- While on the medication, you will visit the hospital frequently for the physician to perform a blood test to determine the time taken for the blood to clot, if need be, the blood test can be done daily. The test is important to determine the lowest effective dose you can take to lower the chances of bleeding as a result of taking the medication.
- After taking the medication for five days, the doctor will continue with the blood test to check the level of platelets in the blood. Bear in mind that Heparin injection can trigger reduction of the number of the platelets resulting in a condition known as thrombocytopenia. If the physician detects a decrease in the number of platelets, the medicine must be discontinued and an alternative medication may be given.
- Potassium is also checked in your blood, particularly if you have been on Heparin injections for more than seven days. Heparin can cause elevated levels of potassium; such a condition is referred to as hyperkalemia, people with kidney problems or with diabetes or those taking other drugs are at risk of the condition since potassium can be retained in their bodies while on Heparin.
The above information is an indication of the importance of scheduled meetings at the doctor’s office. See to it that you don’t skip any at all and attend the meetings on time; the physician has other patients to attend to as well. Also, if carrying the injection at home, use the subcutaneous Heparin injection sites shown to you by the nurse or the doctor and stick to the injection procedure.