The duration a blood clot lasts is highly dependent on several chemical interactions. Blood clots in several ways including:
For clotting to start, blood has to come into contact with certain substances either in the walls of the blood vessels or the skin. Whenever this contact occurs, it means there is a broken wall of blood vessels or the skin itself is broken.
Substances in the walls of blood vessels or skin are also present in the waxy cholesterol that usually forms in blood arteries. These plaques can also trigger the clotting process if they break open.
When these plaques burst in the brain or heart, they cause strokes and heart attacks. When the blood in blood vessels in the body does not flow like it is supposed to, blood clots can occur. If this blood gets to the heart, there is a high chance of platelets sticking together.
If blood flows slower than normal, it can cause clotting problems that lead to deep vein thrombosis and atrial fibrillation.
Certain risk factors increase the possibility of a person developing blood clots. People above the age of 65 years are more likely to develop blood clots. Additionally, trauma, surgery, and long admission at the hospital increase the chances of a person developing blood clots.
Additional factors that increase the possibility of developing a blood clot are:
Lifestyle factors that increase the risk of blood clots are:
There are two main types of blood clots. Blood clots that occur in arteries are known as arterial clots while those that form in veins are known as venous clots. The formation of a blood clot in any blood vessel is very dangerous.
If a person suspects that they have a blood clot, they should consult their healthcare provider. Blood clots that form in the larger blood veins are called deep vein thrombosis. Usually, if a blood clot remains at the same place, it is not harmful.
However, mobile blood clots can be very harmful. A cause for concern is when a deep vein thrombosis gets to the lung and sticks there. This situation is known as pulmonary embolism. This condition inhibits the flow of blood and results in serious consequences and sometimes may cause death.
When a blood clot occurs in arteries in the brain it is called a stroke. Those that occur in heart arteries cause a heart attack. Additionally, a blood clot can also occur in the abdomen vessels where they cause vomiting, nausea and pain. However, blood clots witnessed during menstruation should not worry a person because they are normal.
Symptoms of blood clots depend on the location of the clot. In some people, there may be no symptoms at all. It is common for blood clots to occur in the following areas:
Medications that affect clotting
Several drugs interfere with the process of platelets signaling each other. This prevents them from sticking together, hence cannot clot. These medications include:
Blood-thinning medications make it hard for the body to make clotting factors and prevent them. They are also proteins involved in the formation of clots from working. They include:
Commonly prescribed drugs for heart attack or stroke are clot-dissolving drugs such as tenecteplase, alteplase, and streptokinase. They work by activating the protein responsible for breaking down fibrin strands.
Symptoms of blood clots are similar to those of other health conditions. Blood tests are commonly used to detect blood clots. If the blood clot is suspected, a doctor will recommend:
The main aim of treating blood clots and especially deep vein thrombosis is to stop the enlargement of the clot or its breaking loose. Treatment is important because it helps to prevent future blood clots.
The method of treatment used depends on the location of the blood clot and its likelihood to harm the person. Blood clots are treated in several ways i.e.:
The risk of blood clots can be reduced by:
Whenever a person is worried about their risk of blood clots, especially after surgery, they should talk to their healthcare provider for more information. When traveling for long hours, it is advisable to walk around now and then if possible.
When traveling by plane, wearing compression stockings can go a long way. additionally, one can move their feet and legs while seated.
Various medications are available for the treatment of blood clots. Some are taken for some time while others have to be taken for a lifetime. Regular follow-up with the doctor is highly recommended.
Blood clots are serious and can be life-threatening. Being physically active goes a long way in preventing blood clots in people who are at high risk. Maintaining a healthy weight and a proper diet can also help.
Lastly, it is very important to adhere to the suggestions given by the doctor on lifestyle changes and medication.
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