Every time you test your INR at home, you have an opportunity built in to that day to focus on your health. First and foremost, you want to make sure your INR is within your target range. But why not also use that time each week or month, depending on your prescribed testing frequency, to ask yourself what you can easily do that day to improve your well-being?

Consider these five areas where you can improve your health through simple steps. 

1. Make consistent and healthy dietary choices. According to a Cornell study1, people make more than 200 food-related decisions each day on average. For women taking warfarin, dietary choices matter more than ever. Foods high in Vitamin K, such as kale and other leafy greens, can impact the effectiveness of warfarin. Maintaining a consistent diet can help your doctor determine the appropriate warfarin dosage while enabling you to incorporate nutrient-rich fruits and veggies into your diet.  

2. Pay attention to your mental health. While it often gets overlooked, mental health is just as important as physical health. Getting enough sleep is one of the key ways to improve mental health, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling and staying asleep2. Make it a priority to set aside enough time for a full eight hours of sleep and talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep.

3. Track your medications. It’s important that you keep your doctor up to date on any prescriptions, non-prescriptions, vitamins, or supplements you are taking because some medications may interact with warfarin, including birth control. Take a moment today to create a list of everything you’re taking so you have it handy for your next doctor’s visit.

4. Reduce your risk. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, and it is preventable. Adopting a healthy diet, getting exercise, and quitting smoking are all ways to reduce your risk. According to the American Heart Association, walking just 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for both heart attack and stroke3.

5. Test regularly. INR testing according to your doctor-prescribed frequency will help ensure you are staying within your target INR range. But not only that, it will also allow you and your doctor to evaluate how warfarin reacts to your diet and other healthy living choices on a regular basis. Alere Home Monitoring makes it possible to do INR testing regularly at home and it is more convenient than having to go to a lab.

It’s never too late to start a healthy habit and work toward being a healthier version of you. Make your health a priority and encourage other women in your life to do the same.

 

References

1. http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2006/12/mindless-autopilot-drives-people-underestimate-food-decisions

2. https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/women-and-sleep

3. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WvZ0d9PwZPM

4. Ansell, J. March 2012. Patient Self-Testing: Real World Experience within a Comprehensive Support Service Represents a New Standard of Care, Attaining high Quality Anticoagulation Control. Poster presented at: American College of Cardiology.

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