What Does a Low INR Value Mean?

Written by stefania koziol
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What Does a Low INR Value Mean?
The INR is used when interpreting blood clotting time. (boiling blood image by Adrian Hillman from Fotolia.com)

INR stands for International Normalized Ratio. Knowing your INR can become increasingly important if you are diagnosed with health conditions for which you are placed on anti-coagulation therapy. To properly manage these conditions, INR tests should be completed on a frequent basis.


INR is considered the standard unit that a prothrombin time, or PT, is reported in. The INR is necessary in order to compare prothrombin times across the world. A PT test is used to measure the time it takes for blood to clot, according to ClotCare.com. This test becomes important if you are placed on an anti-coagulation therapy. Anti-coagulation therapy is most often prescribed when there is risk of cerebrovascular accident, deep vein thrombosis or other cardiovascular conditions.

Interpreting INR Values

INR values are reported using a scale. The lower the result, the longer it takes the blood to clot. The optimal INR result is one. The higher the INR result, the less time it takes the blood to clot. Quick clotting blood poses many risk factors in connection with cardiovascular diseases.

Anti-Coagulation Therapy

While on anti-coagulation therapy it is important to maintain a consistent INR. Anti-coagulation therapy, such as Coumadin, is prescribed based on INR results. Consideration should be given to diet, specifically with regard to vitamin K. Vitamin K helps blood to clot and therefore should remain consistent in the diet, according to the National Institutes of Health. Foods highest in vitamin K include spinach, kale and collards. It is important to note that most green vegetables contain some amount of vitamin K.

What Does a Low INR Value Mean?
Dark green leafy vegetables can be high in vitamin K, such as spinach. (Spinach Crop image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com)

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