Health

Coagulation.

Coagulation is the process of making blood clot. This is an important and complex process that enables the blood to plug and heal a wound. This is how the body stops any unwanted bleeding.

Coagulation involves the action of cells and coagulation (clotting) factors. The cells are platelets, and the coagulation factors are proteins. These proteins are present in the blood plasma and on the surfaces of certain vascular, or blood vessel, cells.

If a person’s blood clots too much, they may develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and other problems. If it does not clot enough, a person may have hemophilia. In this case, bleeding happens too easily.

_How coagulation happens.

Hemostasis is the process that stops bleeding and prevents damaged blood vessels from losing too much blood.

Coagulation is an essential part of hemostasis. In hemostasis, platelets and a protein called fibrin work together to plug a damaged blood vessel wall. This stops the bleeding and gives the body the chance to repair the damage.

When damage occurs in the endothelium, which is the lining of a blood vessel, platelets immediately form a plug at the site of the injury. At the same time, proteins in the blood plasma respond to form fibrin strands.

In a complex chemical reaction, these strands form and reinforce the platelet plug.

As the platelets gather at the site of an injury to plug, or block it, the coagulation factors act in a series of chemical reactions to strengthen the plug and allow healing to begin.

What is a platelet?

A platelet is a disc-shaped element in the blood that plays a role in blood clotting. During normal clotting, platelets clump together.

Platelets are blood cells that come from megakaryocytes, which are cells that the bone marrow produces.

What is fibrin?

Fibrin is an insoluble protein that plays a role in blood clotting.

Fibrin collects around the wound in a mesh-like structure that strengthens the platelet plug.

As this mesh dries and hardens, or coagulates, the bleeding stops and the wound then heals.

_Blood Clots.

Blood clotting, or coagulation, is an important process that prevents excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured.

Platelets (a type of blood cell) and proteins in your plasma (the liquid part of blood) work together to stop the bleeding by forming a clot over the injury.

Typically, your body will naturally dissolve the blood clot after the injury has healed. Sometimes, however, clots form on the inside of vessels without an obvious injury or do not dissolve naturally.

These situations can be dangerous and require accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Clots can occur in veins or arteries, which are vessels that are part of the body’s circulatory system. While both types of vessels help transport blood throughout the body, they each function differently. Veins are low-pressure vessels that carry deoxygenated blood away from the body’s organs and back to the heart. An abnormal clot that forms in a vein may restrict the return of blood to the heart and can result in pain and swelling as the blood gathers behind the clot. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a type of clot that forms in a major vein of the leg or, less commonly, in the arms, pelvis, or other large veins in the body. In some cases, a clot in a vein may detach from its point of origin and travel through the heart to the lungs where it becomes wedged, preventing adequate blood flow. This is called a pulmonary (lung) embolism (PE) and can be extremely dangerous.

_How DVT Can Lead to Pulmonary Embolism.

Arteries, on the other hand, are muscular, high-pressure vessels that carry oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body. When your doctor measures your blood pressure, the test results are an indicator of the pressure in your arteries. Clotting that occurs in arteries is usually associated with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a deposit of plaque that narrows the inside of the vessel. As the arterial passage narrows, the strong arterial muscles continue to force blood through the opening, and the high pressure can cause the plaque to rupture. Molecules released in the rupture cause the body to overreact and form an unnecessary clot in the artery, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke. When the blood supply to the heart or brain is completely blocked by the clot, a part of these organs can be damaged as a result of being deprived of blood and its nutrients.

The following factors increase your risk of developing a blood clot:

_ Obesity.

_ Pregnancy.

_ Immobility (including prolonged inactivity, long trips by plane or car).

_ Smoking. _ Oral contraceptives. _ Certain cancers.

_ Trauma.

_ Certain surgeries.

_Age (increased risk for people over age 60). _ A family history of blood clots.

_ Chronic inflammatory diseases.

_ Diabetes.

_ High blood pressure.

_ High cholesterol.

_ Prior central line placement.

What Are the Symptoms of a Blood Clot?

In addition to knowing your risk factors, it is also important to be aware of the symptoms of blood clots, which vary depending upon where the clot is located:

_ Heart :

chest heaviness or pain, discomfort in other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, light-headed Ness.

_ Brain :

weakness of the face, arms or legs, difficulty speaking, vision problems, sudden and severe headache, dizziness.

_ Arm or Leg :

sudden or gradual pain, swelling, tenderness and warmth.

_ Lung :

sharp chest pain, racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, fever, coughing up blood.

_ Abdomen :

severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea.

How Are Blood Clots Treated?

Blood clots are treated differently depending on the location of the clot and your health.

There have been many research advances that have improved the prevention and treatment of blood clots. Some current treatments include:

_ Anticoagulants :

medicine that prevents clots from forming.

_ Thrombolytics :

medicine that dissolves blood clots.

_ Catheter-directed thrombolysis :

a procedure in which a long tube, called a catheter, is surgically inserted and directed toward the blood clot where it delivers.

_ clot-dissolving medication.

Thrombectomy – surgical removal of a clot.

References :

Hemophilia, coagulation, and blood clotting”, www.medicalnewstoday.com

“Blood Clots”, www.hematology.org

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