One of the battles with my body at the moment is the battle to thin my blood!
Since arriving in the U.K. I have been on blood thinning drugs. Initially I was on Heparin via intravenous drip. More recently I have moved on to Warfarin.
Warfarin is an oral anticoagulant and it’s function is to reduce the risk of clotting by making it more difficult for the blood to clot.
Tablets come in different strengths indicated by colour ranging from 0.5mg (white) through 1mg (brown), 3mg (blue) and 5mg (pink).
My blood clotting is measured by an INR (International Normalised Ratio) test. This measures how long it takes for blood to clot.
The target value for my blood has been determined to be 2.5. The baseline for me was initially 1.6 and so the value has to be raised.
I need to visit my local doctors surgery twice a week to monitor the INR – this in addition to my clinic visits means at least four visits to the doctor/ hospital ever week.
However, over the two weeks I was taking Warfarin at 3.5mg per day the INR actually fell to 1.4. So now Warfarin has been increased to 8mg daily.
Obviously the most serious side effect of this treatment is the risk of bleeding. I need to be careful if I go to the dentist and provide a recent INR value to the dentist.
I also need to be aware of the effect of other medicines including prescription and over the counter medication. I must avoid aspirin, diclofenic and ibuprofen, though codeine based anti-inflammatory drugs like paracetamol are fine.
Diet can also be an influence things. The amount of Vitamin K can effect my INR. Therefore I need to avoid the following foods
- Green leafy vegetables
- Chick Peas
- Egg Yolks
- Cereals containing wheat bran and oats
- Mature cheese and blue cheese
- Olive oil
- Cranberry Juice
Some of these are already excluded by my potassium diet – others provide a further restriction.