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Aspirin, Coumadin Make Strokes Milder

Message to Atrial Fibrillation Patients: Know Your INR

Precautions for Patients Taking Coumadin continued...

Eat a sensible, well-balanced diet. Talk with your doctor if you are planning any major dietary changes such as following a weight-reducing diet or adding nutritional supplements. Large amounts of food high in vitamin K (such as broccoli, spinach, and turnip greens) may change the way warfarin works. Try to keep the amount of these foods in your diet about the same from week to week.

It is best to avoid alcohol while taking warfarin. Alcohol interferes with the effectiveness of warfarin.

Check with your doctor before starting any exercise or sports program. Your doctor may want you to avoid any activity or sport that may result in a serious fall or other injury.

Use a soft toothbrush. Brush and floss gently to prevent bleeding from the gums. And be careful when using razors. Using an electric razor or hair-removing cream minimizes the chance of cuts.

If you cut yourself and the cut is small, apply constant pressure over the cut until the bleeding stops. This may take up to 10 minutes. If the bleeding doesn't stop, continue to apply pressure and go to the nearest emergency room. If the cut is large, apply constant pressure and get help immediately either by phone or by going to the nearest emergency room.

Call your doctor if you have any symptoms of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, infection, or fever. Illness can change the way warfarin works.

Wear or carry identification that states you are taking warfarin.

If you are a woman who is taking warfarin and is planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the possible risks and ways to reduce those risks. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

Before getting any medical or dental treatment, tell all your doctors and dentists that you are taking warfarin. Before having a surgical or dental procedure, you may need to have a blood test, and you may need to stop taking warfarin for a few days.

Check with your doctor before you travel. Before you go on vacation, you may need to have a blood test and your warfarin dose may need to be adjusted. While traveling, carry your medications with you at all times. Do not put medications in checked baggage, and do not leave your medications in the car.

Call your doctor if you notice any of the following signs of bleeding or illness that can affect the way your warfarin works:

  • Feeling more weak or tired than usual or looking pale (symptoms of anemia)
  • Bleeding from cuts that won't stop after applying pressure for 10 minutes
  • Coughing or vomiting blood (which may look like coffee grounds)
  • Bleeding from the nose, gums, or ears
  • Unusual color of the urine or stool (including dark brown urine, or red or black, tarry stools)
  • Unusual bruising (black and blue marks on your skin) for unknown reasons
  • Menstrual bleeding that is heavier or lasts longer than normal
  • A fever or illness that gets worse
  • A serious fall or a blow to the head
  • Unusual pain or swelling
  • Unusual headache
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing

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