Warfarin use for atrial fibrillation increases dementia risk
Warfarin has been used to prevent potentially life-threatening blood clots for more than half a century; an estimated 20 million Americans are currently taking the drug, medicalnewstoday.com reports.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) refers to an irregular, often abnormally fast, heartbeat. It can cause a range of symptoms, including shortness of breath, dizziness, and tiredness.
There are an estimated 2.7 million Americans living with AF.
According to the American Heart Association, AF increases the risk of stroke fivefold. For this reason, warfarin's ability to prevent blood clots is a potential life-saver.
Because blood clots can seriously affect brain function, AF is known to enhance the risk of developing dementia. On the other hand, blood thinners used to ease AF symptoms increase the likelihood of brain bleeds that can, over time, have a negative impact on brain function.