Life outside the nine to five

August, 2016

Discover how self-testing brings you the freedom to follow your own routine.

One area for concern when being prescribed warfarin is the fear you’ll never be able to stray too far from regular trips to your local surgery to check your INR. But with self-testing, you can go wherever life takes you as we found out when we spoke to James, Royal Navy Reserve Officer and IT Consultant.

None of us wants to feel like we’re tied to the same place or routine for the rest of our lives. But if you have a heart condition or a blood clotting disorder, it becomes essential that your INR levels are closely monitored, often involving regular trips to your local clinic or surgery. So what happens if your career or lifestyle depends on the flexibility to travel at home or abroad, sometimes at the drop of a hat? Do you have to wish it all ‘bon voyage’?

Testing that works around your diary

The great news is that there are all sorts of people who are on warfarin whose lives don’t fit neatly into a nine to five routine. Everyone from global business executives and long distance lorry drivers to military personnel – even rock musicians! And many of them are already enjoying the benefits of choosing to self-test. The advantage is that self-testing allows you to be in control of your INR and always know what level it is at. So rather than monthly trips to the clinic, you can commit to your own diary and test yourself. That way, you can turn a Friday meeting in London into a long weekend or book a spontaneous trip abroad with more peace of mind.

The view from someone who’s already on board

But practically, what is self-testing like? We caught up with James, who has a full time job as an IT Consultant and is also a reserve officer in the Royal Naval Reserve. He had a mechanical heart valve fitted in 2005 and was subsequently prescribed warfarin. “Self-testing was suggested to me whilst I was still within my first 12 weeks of recovery”, which was fortunate for James as his work hours aren’t that conventional. He loved the flexibility it would give him, so he began testing as soon as he left hospital. “Initially, I had to have a venous check up every month but now I just have a venous test every six months – to check my self-test results are aligned”. It has meant less intrusion on his work schedule, family life or passion for shooting. It also gives him the freedom to say yes to last minute business meetings or jump on board a ship when the Royal Navy ask him to. “If I couldn’t self-test it would definitely impact my lifestyle. I wouldn’t want to travel without self-testing. I don’t think it would be possible”.

Empowered to live an extraordinary life

The beauty of self-testing is you don’t have to compromise when it comes to achieving great things in life. In James’s case, it empowered him to take command of a deployed naval party for six months. It was demanding, intense and certainly not your average nine to five role. But because warfarin wasn’t constantly front of mind and he could get on with the job at hand, James didn’t feel the need to tell his team apart from his second-in-command. He simply checked his INR every Monday and kept his tablets in a medicine box so he remembered to take them at the same time each day.

A little confidence goes a long way

James believes that self-testing is nothing to feel nervous about. All it takes is a bit of confidence, and that’s something that quickly develops as soon as you start the process. One of the reasons that James is such a confident self-tester is that he’s built up his own knowledge about how his body reacts. He knows he has to be consistent with his Vitamin K and recommends anyone on warfarin to check which foods contain high levels of it. “Some things are obvious like spinach, but surprisingly chickpeas and hummus are also quite high in Vitamin K,” he says, and if he has a glass of wine or two, he knows this will also affect his INR. He can then adjust his medication accordingly. His other piece of advice is, “When you see the doctor and they prescribe you other medication, check that it doesn’t interfere with your warfarin. Antibiotics always seem to impact my INR levels, so I always double check with my GP that it is essential I go on them…otherwise I’d rather not take them”. But what James’s story reveals most is that by having the freedom to get on with life his way, he’s proved to his friends, family and himself that he can confidently balance warfarin with his work and travel.

Take a step closer to independence

If you’ve been inspired by James’s story and you’d like to start self-testing, here are some helpful links to get you started:

If you’re having difficulty convincing your GP, then click here for more information about speaking with you GP or clinic.

If you want to know more about how INR impacts your diet so you can be confident about staying in range, check out this article

If you’d like to read about other people’s experience of self-testing, click here

We would always recommend that you speak to your GP if you have any concerns or queries about your own warfarin management.

If you would like to make it easier to buy, take advantage of our interest free Easy Payment Plan, spread over 12 or 24 months.*

Available via the Care Line team. For more details please call 0808 100 7666.

CoaguChek® INRange meter kit available from £12.45** per month, excl. VAT

(24 x monthly payments of just £12.45**,12 x monthly payments of just £24.91**,total price £299) CoaguChek INRange test strips are available on prescription or you can buy online directly from Roche***

* T&Cs apply **Interest free Easy Payment Plan – Patient only (maximum 1 individual purchase). Individual patients can benefit from an Easy Payment Plan, spreading the cost interest free over 12 or 24 months.  In these cases the patient will need to make the purchase and a credit check will be required.
Representative example:
Cash Price £299
Total amount of credit £299
Interest rate 0% fixed
Pay either £24.91 per month for 12 months or £12.45 per month for 24 months
0% APR representative
Total amount payable £298.92 over 12 months or £298.80 over 24 months
This finance option is available through Roche Diagnostics Limited, Charles Avenue, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 9RY. Roche Diagnostics Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Credit is provided by Hitachi Personal Finance, a division of Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Prices are correct at time of preparation (November 2014). Prices are correct at time of last update (November 2016). Prices and finance options are subject to change. Finance requires credit checks before approval. *** Test strips are required and are available on prescription (GP’s discretion, prescription charges may apply). Care Line operational hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm. Patients who are chronically sick are eligible for VAT exemption, for more information please refer to HM Revenue and Customs on 0300 200 3700
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