Does alcohol thin your blood? Does alcohol raise blood pressure? » Ask Our Doctors

Talk with your primary care doctor, therapist, or any other medical care professionals who might be able to help. They should have some local resources available to make it easier to overcome alcohol addiction. One of the main dangers of combining alcohol and blood thinners is that the alcohol may interfere with the normal function of the medication. There are a few reasons that it’s not typically safe to combine alcohol and prescription blood thinners, though the exact reasons might not be what you’re thinking of. Additionally, people who have been drinking alcohol may be at greater risk of excessive bleeding if they are cut or wounded while still under the influence of alcohol.

blood thinners and alcohol

This helps prevent blood clots from lodging in the heart, causing a heart attack; in the brain, causing a stroke; or in the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. People normally take blood thinners when they have conditions that increase their risk of blood clots developing or conditions that increase the damage a blood clot would potentially cause. This could include atrial fibrillation, a heart valve replacement, congenital heart defects and many other conditions. Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent the formation of blood clots.

Blood Thinner Drugs

Over time, one of the serious risks of alcohol use and especially alcohol misuse is that the drug can actually cause cell death and shrink your brain. While your body can recover from this kind of damage over time, neurons are some of the slowest cells in our body to grow and recover, and new neurons develop very slowly as well. So, if you do experience brain damage or shrinkage as a result of drinking, those effects are likely to be very long lasting and may be functionally permanent.

  • Elevated blood pressure places extra stress on the heart and increases the chances of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
  • If your doctor has prescribed warfarin, the foods you eat can affect how well your blood thinner works for you.
  • It can also cause things like nosebleeds after a single night of over-drinking.

This article explains the safety and effects of drinking alcohol while using blood thinners. Traumatic injuries are one of the most common causes of bleeding, but sometimes you can bleed spontaneously. Though Beckner and Dr. Alvarado strongly encourage their patients taking anticoagulants to abstain from alcohol altogether, they do agree that moderate, sporadic use could be okay for certain individuals. Alcohol, in low to moderate amounts, thins the blood, reducing the risk of clots.


Alcohol use may cause gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) or peptic ulcer disease (PUD), leading to stomach bleeding. In general, PUD occurs when acid from food or drink irritates the lining of your esophagus or stomach. Mixing alcohol and aspirin increases the toxicity of aspirin and can increase the risk of internal bleeding. If you are taking aspirin, you should speak with your doctor before using alcohol. A person who is uncertain whether they can drink alcohol while taking blood thinners should speak with a doctor.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. Of course, healthcare professionals are here to assist and support you along the way. For those who have a problem with alcohol use disorder, there are resources and tools to help reduce alcohol intake. The lowest risk of CAD deaths was found in people consuming approximately one to two alcoholic equivalents.

Video—Staying Active and Healthy with Blood Thinners

This can help them determine if something is causing an interaction that could lead to serious bleeding. If you struggle with controlling your alcohol use, disclose this to your physician before they prescribe a blood thinner. They can provide you with other options and work with you to address your drinking before you start taking blood thinners. The safest option is to avoid using alcohol while taking blood thinners.

Some side effects specific to antiplatelet drugs include aspirin-induced asthma and the development of nasal polyps. Call 911 or visit urgent care if you cut yourself and can’t stop the bleeding. People who take blood thinners often report excessive bleeding from minor lacerations, cuts and nosebleeds.

Antiplatelet medicines and alcohol

Diuretics can lead to dehydration, which is dangerous when you’re on blood thinners because dehydration can significantly increase the risk of bleeding. Mixing alcohol and Coumadin is known to affect how Coumadin works in your body. It can make Coumadin more active and increase the risk of bleeding.

New oral anticoagulants, or NOACs, don’t require regular blood work or diet management. Regular blood tests are not needed for some of the newer blood thinners. You also need to avoid activities and sports that could cause injury.

What are the different types of blood thinners?

They may also be able suggest an alternative medication that’s less risky to take with alcohol. Any alcohol you drink will get absorbed into your blood, and then carried throughout your body before eventually being filtered out and removed by your liver. Drinking too much alcohol can have damaging effects just about everywhere in your body, but can have an acute impact on your liver and brain. In fact, drinking alcohol can have both short term and long-term effects on just about every part of your body. Alcohol, like some medicines, can make you sleepy, drowsy, or lightheaded.

What can you not do while on blood thinners?

Because you are taking a blood thinner, you should try not to hurt yourself and cause bleeding. You need to be careful when you use knives, scissors, razors, or any sharp object that can make you bleed. You also need to avoid activities and sports that could cause injury. Swimming and walking are safe activities.

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