21583877_thbAgain, I am bringing you guest blogger, Gary Liska from  QAS ( Quality Assured Services, Inc.) because his expertise is in Coumadin therapy, INR testing and Vitamin K regulation.  When my father was placed on Coumadin, the physician’s instructions were to “decrease his intake of green leafy vegetables and don’t let him fall”.  That was pretty much it.  But there’s a lot more information that we, as caregivers, should be aware of when our loved one is placed on Coumadin ( or the generic equivalent, warfarin ).  Vitamin K can be found in many more items than green leafy vegetables; some items that contain Vitamin K are surprising (salmon, for instance).

Gary’s article can be found immediately below.

“Coumadin®, available generically as warfarin, has been widely used to reduce the risk of stroke for well over 50 years. Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and George Bush senior were all taking Coumadin during their active years of former Presidency. Despite millions of prescriptions written annually for this medication, practical, easy to use information remains a challenge.

One of the most common and historical needs of managing warfarin is diet, specifically, dietary vitamin K. Physicians use warfarin to increase the bleeding time in patients at risk for developing unwanted blood clots. The goal is to prolong the bleeding just time enough to prevent clot formation where it isn’t needed (the heart and lungs for example) but allow clotting to take place for normal blood vessel bleeding repair. While warfarin prolongs your bleeding time, dietary vitamin K increases the body’s natural ability to form clots.

The simple blood test called an INR test measures that active anti-clotting effect of warfarin. The higher the dose of warfarin, the more potent or longer the blood takes to clot. A diet high in vitamin K can reduce the effect of warfarin and lower the number of the blood test result. For this reason, it is important for patients to keep a consistent intake of dietary vitamin K to help maintain safe levels of protection warfarin provides without interfering too much.

It is difficult to monitor vitamin K intake when food and beverage labels do not provide this information and the FDA does not require it. While professionals teach vitamin K is abundant in leafy green vegetables – there are many hidden sources patients and their care givers need to know about. Salad dressings and some mayonnaise are good examples.

The vitamin K registry

An easy to use, extensive vitamin K database is available for patients and their family. The vitamin K diary allows you to simply type the first few letters of a food or beverage you’re interested in and a menu of products is displayed listing the serving size and the amount of vitamin K. The vitamin K registry can help you keep balance and choice in your diet. A printable version is also available to assist in creating grocery lists for the Coumadin patient.

The vitamin K diary

The vitamin K diary is an interactive resource for patients or caregivers to keep track of vitamin K intake. While using of the vitamin K registry as a source guide, the vitamin K diary allows the user to record the vitamin K (listed in micrograms) consumed for each meal. The diary, offered as a word document, calculates the total daily and weekly intake of vitamin K. The vitamin K diary is best used 7 days prior to the patient’s blood test to best evaluate the effect of diet and shared with the patient’s healthcare provider.

For other helpful resources on maintaining your quality of life, visit www.PTINR.com  ”


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