Microsoft word - coumadin 4.doc

Coumadin (warfarin) is prescribed for people at increased risk of forming harmful blood clots that can block the flow of blood to the heart or brain. Coumadin works by prolonging the time it takes for a clot to form. That is why it is sometimes referred to as a “blood thinner.” Vitamin K is a nutrient naturally found in foods that helps clot your blood and prevent bleeding. So eating foods that contain vitamin K can affect the way Coumadin works. You don’t need to avoid foods containing vitamin K but you do need to keep the amount of them you eat the same from day to day. Changes to diet can affect the amount of Coumadin you need. If your diet changes for any reason, such as illness or to lose weight, be sure to tell your healthcare provider. • Many of the foods that contain Vitamin K contain other valuable nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and iron. Do not avoid these foods. Be consistent in the amount of them that you eat. • Even foods with only low or medium Vitamin K (see list below) can affect your Coumadin if eaten in large amounts. Be consistent in your intake of these foods too. • If you take a multi-vitamin with Vitamin K in it or fish oil (omega-3), take it consistently. Vitamin K Amounts in Foods: High Vitamin K Medium Vitamin K Other food products can also affect the way Coumadin works in your body. See next page. Gerri French, RD, CDE; Constance Thayer, FNP. • Alcohol can increase the effect of Coumadin in your body. Talk to your healthcare provider about the amount of alcohol that is acceptable. • Food products such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, licorice, ginseng and supplements such as flax seed oil, fish oil and COQ10 may also interact with Coumadin and may affect blood clotting. • Herbal teas and black and green tea leaves are high in Vitamin K. Brewed tea is less of a concern if used consistently and in moderation. • Talk with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about any food products • Take Coumadin at the same time each day. If you miss a dose, take the next one at your normal time. Never take two doses at one time. • Have blood tests (called “INR” or “protime”) done as directed. This test is the only way to check that your Coumadin is still the right amount for you. • Tell all healthcare providers, including your dentist, that you take Coumadin. It is also a good idea to wear a medical alert bracelet. • Before taking any other medicine tell your healthcare provider. This includes aspirin, • Use a soft toothbrush and floss gently. • Use an electric shaver to avoid cuts. • Wear shoes to protect your feet and don’t trim corns and calluses yourself. • Avoid falls and injury. • You have bleeding that doesn’t stop in 10 minutes • You are coughing up or vomiting blood • You have diarrhea or bleeding hemorrhoids • You have dark urine or black stools • You experience dizziness or fatigue, chest pain or difficulty breathing • You experience a serious fall or a blow to the head Talk with your doctor about any concern and follow special directions you receive. This will insure the best outcome for you taking Coumadin. Gerri French, RD, CDE; Constance Thayer, FNP.


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