For many who take warfarin, regular doctors appointments are still the norm. But for Diane, self-testing has given her the freedom to live life the way she wants to, without regular GP visits. We caught up with Diane to see what recommendations she had for people considering self-testing.
The best thing about it…
After asking Diane what self-testing meant in her day-to-day life, ‘convenience’ was the first thing that came to mind. ‘I can self-test wherever, whenever’. It has given her complete control and reassurance, as you can be aware of your INR, so you aren’t left in the dark. This means Diane can continue to work and in her own words, ‘no one needs to know’ meaning discretion is always maintained.
What would you tell someone thinking about self-testing?
‘First of all, do your research and access all the information available to you’. Diane then recommends talking with your GP about why you feel you would benefit from self-testing. Some GPs won’t prescribe testing strips on the NHS, so it is worth thoroughly researching to explain to your GP why you personally would benefit from self-testing.
Self-testing isn’t just for people over a certain age – indeed people of all ages are on warfarin. Diane is a part of the patient charity AntiCoagulation Europe and has younger friends that self-test too.
Top tips for testing
So what does Diane recommend for those ready to self-test?
- Practice makes perfect – ‘in the early days you may need to practice getting the right amount of blood for the test strip.But once you’ve mastered it you won’t have to think about it, it’s like brushing your teeth’
- Don’t worry about pricking your finger – ‘it’s just a little pinprick and you can adjust the depth of the pen’s penetration to secure a sufficient blood drop. The benefits far outweigh the slight discomfort’.
- Bathe your hands in warm water – ‘ you should always wash your hands before self-testing, but bathing your hands in warm water makes you more relaxed and improves the circulation in your fingers’.
- Be patient – sometimes it’ll take a bit of time to get a good test, but being relaxed helps’
- Have a sharps box – Diane uses an old strips tube to store used strips and sharps in when out of the home, and then decants them into sharps box at home. (learn more)’
A special thanks to Diane for sharing her experiences. Learn more about Diane’s story here.