Blood Clot

Blood:  A tissue.   Blood consists of various formed elements, or blood cells, suspended in a fluid called plasma.  Blood transports gases, nutrients, metabolic wastes, blood cells, immune cells, and hormones throughout the body.  The blood, which is confined to the vascular system, constantly interacts with the body's extracellular fluid for exchange and transfer.

Formed elements in the blood include red blood cells (erythrocytes/RBC), platelets, and white blood cells (leukocytes/WBC).  RBCs and platelets function entirely within blood vessels; WBCs act mainly in the tissues outside the blood vessels.

Clot:  a semisolidified mass of coagulum, as of blood

How blood clots:  A 3 part process, the circulatory system protects itself from excessive blood loss. In this process, vascular injury activates a complex chain of events - vasoconstriction, platelet aggregation, and coagulation - that leads to clotting.  This stops bleeding without hindering blood flow through the injured vessels.

Blood flows freely through arteries and capillaries.  Clotting is a good thing, even vital, when a blood vessels is injured, at the first sign of injury or trauma, blood thickens (or clots), and stanches its own flow at the site of the wound.  Clot formation inside healthy blood vessels is abnormal and may be life-threatening.  Such clots are complications of heart disease or venous diseases.

A clot that forms in the heart or a blood vessel and remains there is called a thrombus.  Tiny thrombi (plural of thrombus) develop on blood vessel walls to heal minute injuries, then it normally dissolve.  If they don't dissolve, they not only slow circulation but can also break loose or break apart and flow with the blood.  A clot that travels and then becomes lodged at some point in a blood vessels is called an embolus.  Emboli are potentially more dangerous but are less common than thrombi.

Complications posed by an abnormal blood clot depends on the size and its location.  Blood clots in the arteries supplying the heart (coronary arteries) are the major cause of heart attack.  An obstructive clot in a cerebral artery, can cause stroke.  Blood clots in arteries of the eye can lead to loss of vision.  An embolus in the lungs that blocks a pulmonary artery can cause severe shortness of breath, and possible death.

Symptoms:

Blood clots normally produce no obvious symptoms.

Signs and complications from abnormal clots:

Sudden and isolated pain in an leg or arm;  sometimes followed by skin discoloration, tingling, numbness, or a feeling of 'cold' just below the site of pain - may suggests a large blood clot circulation may be blocked and if left untreated, gangrene (tissue death) could result.

Phlebitis:  (inflammation of a vein) - inflame the walls of blood

vessels and promote abnormal clots -Skin tenderness, redness, may have slight edema, may develop a red streak.

A hard, bluish lump in a vein may be caused by a large blood clot.

A sudden complete or partial blindness in one eye may be due to a blood clot blocking a retinal artery.

Dizziness or vertigo, that impairs a patients ability to stand or walk may be caused by a small blood clot blocking a cerebral artery.

Treatment:

Doctor may prescribed drug therapy to reduce the risk of abnormal clotting. Such as:  aspirin for patients who are at risk for embolisms or thrombosis.   Other anticoagulants includes:  dicumarol, heparin, and warfarin sodium for more severe cases.

*Use all medication as prescribed by your doctor

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