Symptoms to Monitor While Taking Warfarin (Coumadin®)
While you are on warfarin, it is important to monitor for certain symptoms that may indicate that your INR or warfarin dose is too high or too low.
Signs that your INR is too low:
DVT (deep venous thrombosis): a blood clot deep within a vein, usually in the legs
Symptoms of a DVT: leg pain, swelling, redness, tender to touch, warmth
Factors that increase the risk of having a DVT: low INR, over 40 years old, bedridden, pregnant, previous surgery, taking estrogen medicine, obese, prolonged sitting (i.e., long car or airplane ride), clotting disorders
PE (pulmonary embolism): a blood clot that traveled from the legs to the lung
Symptoms of a PE: chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, low blood pressure, fast heartbeat, or breathing fast
Factors that increase the risk of having a PE: low INR, had a DVT, bedridden, have heart failure, pregnant, taking estrogen medicine, obese, prolonged sitting (i.e., long car or airplane ride), clotting disorders
Stroke (brain attack): a blood clot traveled to the brain from somewhere else in the body. This is especially common in people with atrial fibrillation (A. Fib).
Symptoms of a stroke: feeling paralyzed, unable to talk, headaches, difficulty with eyesight, confusion, amnesia, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, trouble walking, or facial drooping
Factors that increase the risk of having a stroke: low INR, over 65 years old, mechanical heart valve, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, diabetes, smokers, and high cholesterol
Signs that your INR is too high:
Symptoms of hemorrhage: nosebleeds, bleeding gums when tooth brushing, abnormal bruises, blood in urine or feces, feeling tired or weak, bleeding that won’t stop
Factors that increase the risk of having a bleed: high INR, taking more warfarin than recommended, falls, contact sports, using sharp objects
If you experience any of these symptoms that have been explained, see your doctor right away!