Blood Thinners and Strokes: How to Determine Your Risk

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Transcript of this Video

Hey, this is Dr. Jack Wolfson, The Paleo Cardiologist of The Drs. Wolfson. I am a board certified cardiologist and I have a lot of people from all over the world who come to see me for atrial fibrillation.

And… very often when it comes to blood thinners and atrial fibrillation and stroke and atrial fibrillation, patients are very confused. I want to set the record straight for them and really help them make an educated decision as far as what is right for them.

One of the first things I do with my patients when they have atrial fibrillation and they are concerned about stroke risks or they’ve been prescribed pharmaceutical blood thinners such as Warfarin, otherwise known as COUMADIN, or one of the newer drugs like PRADAXA or XARELTO, I show them a website, and it’s called and you can see it up here on my screen on the top left.

On Chadsvasc you can go there and you can actually get lots of different information and you can figure out what your stroke risk is, and then you and your doctor can decide what’s right for you.

Let’s take a look over here where you plug in your risk factors. So you go through this check list. Congestive heart failure, if you do have congestive heart failure as identified by this criteria, then you would give yourself a point… and so on and so forth. If you’ve got hypertension, or if you are on pharmaceuticals for hypertension/high blood pressure, you get a point. Age greater than 75 gets you two points. 65 to 74 gets you one point. Diabetes gets you one. Stroke or TIA, by history, gets you two points. History of vascular disease, like if you’ve had angioplasty, a stent, or previous bypass surgery, that gets you a point and if you are female, you get a point.

So, say for example, let’s take Jack Wolfson. I am 47 years old. I have never had a history of congestive heart failure. Never had hypertension. My age, I’m 46. No diabetes. No history of stroke. No history of vascular disease and I am a male. So, my score is a zero.

So we go over to into this side and we see Chadsvasc score of zero. My chances of having a stroke are zero percent, if I was in full-time atrial fibrillation. We are not going to make it much lower than zero percent with any form of pharmaceuticals.

Well now, let’s just take the 67 year old female patient with hypertension. So that person would get a point for hypertension, they’d get a point for age, and they would get a point for being a female, that’s a score of three.

Now, you go over here to the Chadsvasc score of three and you can see they are a 3.2 percent stroke risk on a yearly basis. Now that’s not zero, it’s still one out of thirty three people in that category are having a stroke on an annual basis.

But what I try and do is, I try and tell people that I don’t want your risk of having a stroke to be three percent, and with a blood thinner, the pharmaceuticals, you can lower that risk down to about one to two percent. Which is still some improvement, but it’s not actually getting rid of all risk. And, of course, there is the risk of bleeding on those heavy duty blood thinners.

So what do we do? We talk about ways to, number one, eat the right foods, which the people in these studies are not doing. To live the right lifestyle, such as getting sunshine and sleep. And also getting chiropractor care. We talk about staying away from environmental toxins. We talk about getting grounded. We talk about all the things that I talk about in my book, The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health.


But once again it’s about giving people the information. Now you may think, “Hey, the Chadsvasc score of three percent, I’m not taking a prescription blood thinner”. Maybe you are interested in a natural blood thinner. I use a lot of nattokinase in my office and vitamin C, and Vitamin E and Garlic.

There’s a lot of things that, if you help keep the body working appropriately… Even Omega 3s have benefit in this category. If you keep the body working appropriately, your stroke risk is undoubtedly going to be lower.

These are just some options for you.

Until next time…


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