A clot is an occlusion of coagulated blood formed inside a blood vessel. Blood clots are a significant health risk since they can trigger heart attacks, strokes, serious lung problems, the loss of a limb, or even death if not treated efficiently.
Since a blood clot may form in almost every part of the circulatory system, there are several types of clotting disorders, some of them are inherited, and some are acquired. Here are a few of the most common:
Factor V Leiden. Factor V is a protein for the coagulation system; when it malfunctions, the patient’s risk of clotting increases.
Prothrombin Gene Mutation. Prothrombin is a coagulant protein. In this disorder, the body produces it excessively.
Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (APLS). It is an autoimmune disease in which the body increases the clotting risk by producing antibodies for certain types of blood proteins.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots form inside deep veins, commonly in the legs and hips and sometimes in the arms. Fragments of the clots can break down and travel to other parts of the body.
Pulmonary Embolism (PE). It occurs when a clot wedges in a lung artery, and it might lead to lung damage or even death.
Arterial Thrombosis. An arterial clot that breaks down can cause damage to any organ since the blockage prevents the correct blood flow through the body.
The body keeps a balance between procoagulant factors and anticoagulant factors. For example, we know blood clots are an essential function of the circulatory system, but when this balance is altered, it can lead to a blood clotting disorder.
This imbalance might occur for genetic reasons, mutations, or changes in the gene’s structure before birth. Some of the most common risk factors for developing clotting disorders are:
There are many different signs and symptoms of clotting disorders, depending on the type of it. But usually, they all start early with the swelling of a limb, sometimes a leg or an arm, accompanied by pain, warmth, or reddish or bluish skin.
If the blood clot has broken down and the fragments have reached some other organ, such as the lungs, the patient may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, bloody cough, increased sweating, or accelerated heart rate.
A hematologist is a doctor who specializes in blood diseases and disorders. If you experience some of the symptoms described above, the doctor may run some tests to determine the blood clotting process and the balance of your clotting factors.
Medical professionals may treat existing blood clots with medications that provoke clot breakdown. These drugs are called anticoagulants or blood thinners. In addition, some long-term treatments for clotting disorders include a lifetime of regular medication or even the surgical removal of the clots.
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