Prothrombin Time Test - What It Is and Why You Might Need One
Everyone has accidentally cut a finger while preparing meals or got injured in sports. When this happens, bright red blood appears at the surface of the injured skin, and it starts to hurt. However, in just a few minutes, blood coagulation occurs, and the bleeding stops. Why? Because you have blood platelets that seal the injury.
A prothrombin time test measures how quickly your blood coagulates. This is a blood test that can be done by anyone, and it is usually required to see if you have bleeding disorders or liver problems. Keep reading to find out more about the prothrombin time test and how it is done.
Prothrombin Time Test - Learning the Basics
Blood coagulation is a normal body response to prevent infection and promote healing. It happens regardless of the size of the cut, bruise, or injury and regardless of your age. Prothrombin is also known as factor 2 and its part of 12 different proteins that help to initiate blood coagulation.
When an injury is detected by the body, these 12 proteins travel to the ruptured blood vessels and create a type of natural seal called fibrin. This fibrin will eventually be discarded automatically after the wound has been healed. The PT test will check to see how quickly the blood coagulates. In some cases, the body does not produce sufficient coagulation factors or none at all. This condition is called hemophilia.
As a result, injuries heal with great difficulty and the patient continues to lose blood, even when pressure is applied to the wound. This increases the risk of infection and might lead to serious health complications. In some cases, blood can accumulate under the skin and cause bruising.
Why Is the PT Test Important?
Your doctor might recommend a PT test for various reasons. This test can discover bleeding disorders in patients. It can also be used to see if your blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin works correctly. Bleeding disorders might also be caused by more serious conditions, such as liver disease. You might require a PT test to see if you have vitamin K deficiency.
Many coagulant factors are produced in the liver. When this organ gets damaged by too many toxins, it will stop producing certain factors or none at all. Common blood disorder symptoms include swollen joints, nosebleeds for no real reason, easy bruising, and even detecting blood in the urine.
How Is the PT Test Performed?
This is a blood test, so your doctor needs a blood sample to check your prothrombin levels. Luckily, you can now order a coagulation test online and skip your doctor altogether. You get your PT test at an affordable price, you go to a nearby clinic to draw blood, and have the results emailed back to you in just a few business days.
How to Interpret the Results of a Coagulation Test?
To understand if your blood coagulates correctly, you need to be familiar with the INR, which stands for international normalized ratio. As a rule of thumb, plasma should coagulate in about 12 seconds from the moment a cut or injury is detected. This is valid if you are not taking blood-thinning medication.
The 12-second time interval for normal coagulation is associated with a number between 0.9 and 1.1 on the INR scale. People who are on blood-thinning medication such as warfarin might have an INR value of about 2.5 or 3 because their blood takes longer to coagulate than normal.
If you do a coagulation test and your INR value is approximately 1 without being on blood-thinning medication, then you probably do not have a bleeding disorder. If you get a cut or injury, your body will respond normally and immediately send coagulation factors to seal the injury.
If your INR value is higher than 1 and you are on blood-thinning medication, your doctor will check to see if you get the right warfarin dose. Some people might get too much or too little warfarin and their treatment must be adjusted accordingly.
If your INR value is high and you are not on blood-thinning medication, chances are that your body does not produce enough coagulant factors. This can be caused by vitamin K deficiency or liver disease as most of these factors are produced in the liver. Your doctor will eventually recommend other tests to investigate your health problems.
Luckily, blood disorder problems can be treated with coagulant factor replacement therapy or plasma transfusions to enrich your body with blood platelets.
What to Do Next?
Whether you are on blood-thinning medication such as warfarin or not, it is a good idea to test your blood coagulation time using a prothrombin test. This type of blood test is affordable and it might help you determine if you have a liver problem which is a serious condition. Get your prothrombin time test from DiscountedLabs today!