Yesterday I wrote about blood thinning and Vitamin K intake. I will leave another link to the Johns Hopkins animated “Coagulation Cascade” information because the information there will be used in this post.
The “PT” part of the blood tests on people taking Coumadin is how long it takes a drop of blood to clot. This test is called the “Prothrombin Time” test. As with all medical lingo they have to come up with a really hard to pronounce word to scare the fool out of us commoners.
For those of you that are not on Coumadin (Warfarin) but know someone who is might find this video helpful. Blood thinner pills.
Referring back to the Coagulation Cascade and the process of forming clots in the blood is what the PT test is all about. The blood test can be done at a clinic the doctor has recommended or by a Home Health Nurse. At a clinic the blood will be drawn from a vein in the arm. The regular type of blood draw with the tourniquet wrapped around your upper arm and a syringe poked into the vein that will allow blood to flow into a sample tube. The test can also be done with an “At Home Test Kit” that is quite expensive.
A finger prick much like used in diabetic testing.
Blood is then drawn into a sample tube.
A drop of the sampled blood is then placed on a specific testing strip that has been loaded into the machine.
The sensor in the machine calculates how long it takes for the blood sample to go through the Coagulation Cascade cycle and gives a read out of the time it actually took for the blood to clot.
I have no idea what the results shown on the screen mean – except that Joe’s blood is not thin enough yet.
The “INR” part of the blood testing is, essentially, a set of numbers indicating the median range optimal for blood clotting.
In the things I’ve been reading it seems a committee was formed to decide what the standard of blood testing for patients taking blood thinners would be.
The letters – INR – stand for INTERNATIONAL NORMALIZED RATIO. All this means is that someone in Jakarta, India – Yellowknife Northwest Territories – Berlin, Germany – Edinburgh, Scottland – or Norman, Oklahoma in the US can have the blood tests done and the results can be determined by any doctor anywhere in the world.
For patients taking an anticoagulant the optimum INR results are to be between 2.0 to 3.0. For Joe his results need to be in a higher range of 2.5 to 3.5.
There are things that will cause the testing to go whacko. Having a glass of wine, or a jigger of whiskey, is not recommended. Alcohol has properties that naturally thin the blood and can cause some nasty side effects. All adult beverages are off limits to anyone taking a blood thinner.
Some antibiotics will increase the PT/INR tests. Barbiturates, birth control pills, and Vitamin K will decrease the PT results which will cause an increase in the dosage of Coumadin.
Foods like beef or pork liver, green tea, broccoli, chickpeas, kale, turnip greens, and soybean products contain large amounts of Vitamin K that will alter the PT results.
My poor Joe. He is lamenting the changes in his life and food consumption. This is a difficult thing for the both of us to go through.
Joe: I guess this means no more Chinese Food.
Me: Yes, because of the salt content and the soybean products used in Chinese Food.
Joe: No more deep fried chicken gizzards.
Me. Yes, because of the deep frying. I’m putting that on the NO list because it is an ofal somewhere near a liver and it is out.
Joe: No more steaks either.
Me: Yes, you can have steaks but they have to be grilled, broiled, or baked. WITHOUT salt.
Joe: Am I totally deprived of cookies and milk, too?!
Me: No, you can have dairy products and cookies. The amount of cookies will have to be kept to the Recommended Portion Size and not the “Joe size”.
Joe: What about mashed potatoes and gravy? Do I have to give that up as well?!
Me: No, you can have mashed potatoes and gravy. Here again, it will NOT be the “Joe size”.
Joe: I want something sweet. What can I have?
Me: Go get some grapes, cherries, watermelon, or cantaloupe from the refrigerator.
Joe: Can I have my Ranch Dressing with the watermelon and cantaloupe, too?
Me: Yes, but once again – NOT the “Joe size”. You can’t pour the dressing all over the fruit causing it to go swimming.
Joe: 😦 alright.
When I get too much guff from Joe I threaten him with a call to our “Dr. Loreli” and she will give him what for 😀 He hates it when his kids tell him to behave and listen to me 😀
Okay, now. I think you are all up to date on everything I know about blood thinners and the treatment of Pulmonary Embolism. I’m sure there will be something else to pass on later.
Before I totally forget, once again.
If anyone has a problem with constipation – I know not such a great topic – I’ve learned some things that I would like to pass along. Joe has been having some issues and has been instructed to NOT STRAIN. He could be in dire trouble if he has a bloody stool while taking Coumadin (Warfarin).
A “Black and White” Cocktail:
This is 8 ounces of prune juice, heated in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds – just until it is warm. 2 Tablespoons of Milk of Magnesia stirred into the warmed prune juice. Drink this concoction, don’t sip it.
Dulcolax or Coalesce:
Take one tablet with 8 ounces of water.
Fill the WHITE section of the bottle cap and dump contents into any beverage you want – except adult beverages. Water, juice, coffee, tea, or soda. This product is tasteless and dissolves completely in liquids with some stirring. Joe is taking this product daily and it is helping him keep regular with ease of elimination.
All of the above laxative products are purchased over the counter in drug and grocery stores. The effectiveness of each type is dependent on your body chemistry and how constipated you are.
Everyone needs a little help now and then to keep regular and some of these are a little more potent than others.
Now I’m off to my craft room to get myself immersed in ink and glue 😀