So your doctor tells you that you need an INR blood test, but he doesn’t say why and maybe you felt a bit timid to ask questions.
Well, that’s OK. We’ll help you to understand why so next time, you’ll probably be more confident about questioning your doctor. After all, it’s your health, and it is vital!
What is an INR Blood Test?
First, it’s good to know that the abbreviation INR means International Normalized Ratio. Also, you may hear it being referred to as prothrombin time (PT). Your healthcare provider will use an INR test to determine how long it takes your blood to clot (when the blood clots, it resembles small gel-like lumps). Typically your blood clots in response to an injury, and unfortunately, due to disease formation.
For example, you are making a salad and accidentally cut the tip of your finger; after some time, you will notice that the bleeding stops. Clotting is the body’s way of preventing you from bleeding out.
Do you remember Mr. Prothrombin that we mentioned earlier? Well, he plays an essential role in the clotting of your blood and the INR blood test result. Prothrombin, produced by your liver, has one of the main proteins that facilitate efficient blood clotting to prevent you from bleeding non-stop.
Reasons You Need The Test
Here is a list of possible reasons your doctor ordered an INR test for you:
- You are taking blood thinners or anticoagulants (warfarin)- more often than not, this is the reason why you need to do an INR test. These medications are used as a preventative measure against blood clots. The test will help your doctor determine how your therapy is progressing and precisely how to adjust the dose, if necessary.
- Prior to surgery- if you are scheduled to get any surgical procedure done, your doctor definitely needs to know your blood clotting capabilities. It ensures you don’t bleed uncontrollably during or after the surgery.
- Identify bleeding disorders- a slow clotting time could signify an under-the-radar bleeding issue.
- Identify blood clots- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE) are two blood clot-related conditions that an INR test can help to point out.
- Assess liver disease- if you’ve been having signs and symptoms of liver disease, an INR test can tell your doctor more about the condition.
How is The INR Blood Test Done?
This part sometimes causes the most fear and concern. But if you’ve done one blood test, you’ve practically done all. With an INR test, the lab personnel or your doctor will use a relatively small needle to remove just about 4 milliliters of blood from you. It is then placed in a tube which undergoes a complex process to determine your clotting time.
How Do You Prepare?
Generally, no specific preparation is required for an INR test. But persons with certain conditions and those taking some forms of medications or supplements may need to prepare for this test. Usually, your doctor will tell you if you fall within that rare category. Also, if you think there are any medications your doctor is not aware of, be sure to share that information with them.
Look at that! You’ve made it to the end, now that wasn’t so bad, right? We hope we were able to answer most if not all of your questions and allay your fears. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out, as we are always happy to assist.
Schedule An At Home INR Blood Test
Has your doctor has recommended an INR blood test? Our mobile lab is a convenient way to have that work done. This is especially true if you’re elderly or have mobility issues because our technicians can come right to you! When you’re ready to schedule your test, contact us.
For more information on INR Blood Test visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/prothrombin-time/about/pac-20384661
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