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Coumadin and restrictions on diet and travel

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  • Coumadin and restrictions on diet and travel

    Hello folks,

    I just got the word this past Thursday that I should have my aortic valve replaced within the next 6 months. Aside from a miracle, (which I'm not at all ruling out) all the options for replacement are less than perfect. I'm still in shock and have so many questions in so many areas. Thank God this forum is here!

    I want to know more about being on coumadin. So here are some of my questions:

    1. If you like to travel, especially to exotic, third world places, is being on an anticoagulant going to prevent that kind of adventure? I don't want to give you the impression that I'm a seasoned world traveller but what if I were? I want to know what I'm signing up for.

    2. I love eating a varied diet and trying out meals from different countries. Would being on coumadin limit my diet to something very consistent and restrained? Again, I think this question has a lot to do with travel concerns.
    When you travel, it's very hard to control your diet.

    3. What about supplements? When I feel a cold coming on I hit the vitamin C and black elderberry syrup (to name a few of the things I've tried). to lower my cholesterol, I take red rice yeast, an occasional fish oil tablet and cinnamon. Who doesn't try some natural remedies and vitamin supplements these days?

    4. I occassionally go horseback riding. I would ride a lot more but I've just never had the chance. Are any of you horse people and are you on coumadin?

    I'm actually a homemaker and mother with an artistic bent who has a lot of unfulfilled dreams. I've done some adventurous things including traveling alone in Europe for six weeks. And I hope I will get to do a lot more. Thank you all for your responses. You probably can imagine where I am emotionally right now.
    Aortic Valve Replacement And
    Aortic Root Repair
    Edwards Bovine Pericardial 23mm
    March 7, 2006

  • #2
    Tigerlily: You can and will get all kinds of responses to your questions, but let me answer them also:

    1. Travel. My husband travels for his golf business all the time, all over the world. Being on Coumadin hasn't stopped this. In fact, he's in your neck of woods right now, on his way to Raleigh from the PGA Show in Orlando, FL.

    2. Exotic Foods. It's never stopped him. He's traveling with a couple of Japanese folks and is eating with them, trying all kinds of things.

    3. The only thing I can say is that he takes a multi without Vitamin K in it. It's strange because before his AVR, he used to take all kinds of naturals, but now doesn't. Not because he can't, but because he feels so much better!

    4. We've gone riding quite a few times since his surgery. He just makes sure he doesn't fall off!!!! But he does ride the quiet paint now and I get the fiesty Palomino!

    Seriously though, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got on this site was that you manage your medication around your life, not your life around the medication. We've found this to be true. And the only time that it's been an issue in the year and 3 months since his surgery is slipping and falling on the ice on our driveway and breaking his tailbone. Life goes on.

    Comment


    • #3
      Our biggest "rule" for Coumadin users - Dose the diet, don't diet the dose. Eat what you normally eat and let your Coumadin dose be adjusted accordingly. I rarely stop myself from eating something because it may affect my INR level.

      Travel??? LOVE IT! We've been to France, Italy, Greece and Turkey during our travels.

      I take a good multi-vitamin w/out K in it. As far as suppliments and homeopathic remedies go - you need to check these out first if it's not something you use on a daily basis. (Have you seen the latest report that they think fish oil doesn't do anything to cholesterol? I think it was in JAMA.)

      We have marathoners, triathelets, cyclists and other various physically active members. The point in getting your valve repaired or replaced is to live as full a life as possible. Taking precautions is good, but it's not necessary to live in a padded room. You may want to wear a riding helmet when horseback riding, but then that's really a good idea for any rider.

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome Tigerlily,

        Do not change your life at all if you go on coumadin. I have been on coumadin for over 25 years. A few of my activities over the years: racing sailboats, off and on road motorcycle riding, scuba diving, horseback riding, etc. Travels have included: trips to Europe, Hawaii, more cross-country car trips than I can count, hiking in Mexico, backpacking in Canada, etc. Many of these trips have been alone.

        I am a huge advocate of helmets but have never hit my head during these activities. All of my head bumps have been stupid things like getting into a car or hitting on a table top while picking something off the floor.

        I have never thought of or altered the way I eat (maybe I should some but that is due to extra pounds and not coumadin)

        I have a few trips on my to-do list: Africa, Japan, Australia, Greece and Egypt. I will not think twice about hopping a plane when the opportunity arrives.

        The only thing that might really help you if you will be traveling a lot for extended length of time would be your own INR monitor. Self-testing has made me even more independent because I can monitor my INR no matter where I am.

        Best of luck to you and hope this helps some.

        Comment


        • #5
          One of the ways to avoid being inconvenienced by Coumadin is to learn as much as you can about it. A good place to start is a website created by one of our members, the highly esteemed Al Lodwick who happens to run a Coumadin clinic and has been an invaluable source of information to our members. Go to http://warfarininfo.com

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          • #6
            I have had two women patients who trained horses to be ridden. They did well. I also had one man who had a horse start bucking with him. He got his belt caught over the saddle horn. When he woke up on the ground, he had split his pelvis like a wishbone. He told me that his testicles were the size of basketballs. He recovered very well in a few months.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've had a couple of cat bites & scratches since my MVR and the bleeding has been minimal. Actually, I'm more concerned about getting antibiotics down than stopping the bleeding. I was recently bitten by a cat that had an undetected leg injury; two friends -- both with MVRs, one St. Jude & other bovine -- came to my aid, found my antibiotics and then helped stop the bleeding. My left index finger swelled to where I couldn't bend it for 2 days, but I was OK. (I took about 6,000-8,000 mg of amoxi in 24-48 hours.) I've had 2 Red Cross first aid courses over the years.

              I eat whatever I want, and I like a lot of foods with vitamin K. I just remember to eat fairly consistent amounts of such items nearly every day, if not daily.
              Marsha (7-28-50), MVP 1990/MVR (St. Jude) & ASD repair 6/24/03 Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas Texas. Hometesting since 11/03, first with ProTime 3, now with INRatio.
              John (3-13-46), MV repair 5/10/07, Dallas Presbyterian, port-access incision, Dr. William Ryan. Chordae ruptured 12/05 in car crash.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Tigerlily,

                I run a textile agency business, we represent textile companies
                in the Swedish/Scandinavian market. We work with suppliers in Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Tunisia, Portugal, Moldova, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia,Taiwan and China.

                I had my MVR and a pacemaker -03. Since then I have visited all above
                countries on numerous occasions - needless to say I have also eaten
                the local food with pleasure. I had a few troubles with upset stomach,
                but since I selftest I bring my Coaguchek S with me at all times and
                I test twice a week during my travels and once a week back home.
                Then test every 6 weeks in hospital. I would not travel to Asia comfortably
                without my Coaguchek, but one could also do tests in local hospitals
                to find out your INR-level.

                I also do downhill skiing, but with a helmet. Im quite at ease with all
                above and I am happy I can get around doing what I used to do prior
                to my endocardities.

                I hope you get to terms with things and I wish you good luck.

                /
                Martin

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                • #9
                  Since I've had my AVR I havent changed my diet at all, I still eat whatever I want. I know they say to watch how much green veggies you eat, but I never noticed any changes in my PT.

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                  • #10
                    Mike:
                    When they report your test results to you, do they report p/t or INR?
                    Blanche

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                    • #11
                      I just want to thank everyone for their input. It's actually very reassuring to see how many of you don't let this medication keep you from doing the things you want to do. I have a lot of thinking to do about what valve choice would be best for me. But reading your replies makes me feel that I won't lose my freedom. I would have to be more careful and certainly very conscientious but it doesn't sound like the ball and chain I thought it might be. That's encouraging. God bless you all for being so supportive and helpful.
                      Aortic Valve Replacement And
                      Aortic Root Repair
                      Edwards Bovine Pericardial 23mm
                      March 7, 2006

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes, yes. Live your life. My cardio. Highly respected in our greater area gave me the red light to do whatever I wish. Including shovling snow, skiing, He said to take it slow and easy. Not to go nuts. Live my life with the clicking as backgound noise. It's a beautiful sound to me

                        Al, I handle horses frequently. Can tell you I had to come to a comfort level. Large animals. I leave the riding to others. Though,if I took my cards suggestion....I could end up somewhat like your patient. Minus the last statement. Sounds painful.
                        All the best,
                        LuvMyBirman :)
                        MVR, 3/99

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