Our body functions in so many different ways yet we are aloof about several things. The moment we get hurt, be it a mild cut or a major wound, blood clotting plays a major role in it. There is a control mechanism to limit the clotting of blood or the dissolve of clots that no more required. Any disturbance in this process can lead to excessive blood loss or unwanted clotting of blood that obstructs blood flow.
If a person is diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder, it indicates that there has been unexpected thrombosis or blood clotting in the arteries or veins. Such a condition often arises in the leg which is termed as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). At times the clotting can be found in the lung too and is referred to as pulmonary embolism (PE). When blood clotting occurs it may affect the person in different ways like swelling in the legs, pain, chest pain or at times shortness of breath.
What is a blood clotting disorder?
The blood clotting process is known as coagulation. In this process the blood changes from a liquid state to solid; by this mechanism, the body prevents excess loss of blood. Few factors prevent the formation of a clot in the human body, which causes abnormal bleeding both internally and externally. Sometimes the bleeding may occur in the brain too.
Most of the blood clotting disorders are hereditary while others may begin as a result of other medical states, for example, liver disease. When blood clot formation is excessive, the small blood vessels become clogged with clots. Such clogged vessels can cause heart attack and even stroke.
Some of the causes of these clotting disorders are-
- Liver disease
Several liver diseases carry numerous factors due to which the liver does not function.
In this condition, the blood does not clot normally and haemophilia occurs in children who have low levels of clotting factor protein which is necessary for clotting.
- Vitamin K deficiency
A deficiency in vitamin K can lead to abnormal blood clotting condition. This is commonly found in breastfeeding infants.
- Platelet dysfunction
If there is dysfunction in the platelets then blood clotting disorders may arise. Platelets are needed to make blood clots and a decrease in its count may lead to bleeding and bruising.
- Other clotting factors deficiencies
A low count of clotting factor proteins other than haemophilia causing ones may also result in no-stop bleeding.
- Overdevelopment of circulation anticoagulants
This condition is similar to that of haemophilia, causing diminishing in clotting.
- Von Willebrand disease
This disease is named after the clotting factor protein called von Willebrand factor that is present in the blood. It is a genetic disorder and leads to excessive bleeding when the von Willebrand protein is low.
Symptoms of blood clotting disorders
Blood clotting symptoms may depend on the location of the clot formed. If the clot is in the deep vein of the leg, the complications and symptoms maybe-
- Swelling in the leg
- Leg pain
- Discolour in the skin of the leg
If blood clotting is present as a blockage in the blood vessel of the lung then symptoms that may arise are-
- Difficulty or shortness in breath
- Presence of blood while coughing
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Chest pain, along with the discomfort that may increase with coughing.
The other symptoms of blood clotting disorder include-
- Feeling tired easily
- Nose bleeding that occurs due to no specific reason
- An injury that does not stop bleeding
- Headaches that last for too long
- Rapid vomiting
- Joint pain
- Problem in vision
- Prone to bruises
- Swelling and warmth in the joints or sudden pain in the muscles
- Presence of blood in the stool or urine
How blood clotting diagnosed and treated?
If a person is experiencing one or a couple of the mentioned symptoms then he/she must immediately rush to the doctor. At first, the doctor will ask to get a blood test done. This test will help to determine the amount of blood clot present or not. The doctor might also go for an ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as this allows the doctor to have a clear image of the clot formation (if any).
Home remedies and few medical procedures that can help cure and provide relief to a blood clotting disorder-
- In a situation where bleeding does not stop, try to rest and apply ice in the injured area, this will help to reduce swelling and pain of bleeding.
- Surgery can also help in cases when blood accumulates in the joint caused by haemorrhage
- Exercising regularly helps to strengthen joints and allows proper blood circulation in the body
- Doctors may recommend desmopressin. This particular medicine stimulates the body to produce the protein called von Willebrand factor which helps to stop/control bleeding.
What blood clotting disorders cause miscarriage?
-A condition known as factor V Leiden causes blood clotting in the blood vessels presents in the placenta during pregnancy which leads to a miscarriage. Another clotting disorder APS-antiphospholipid syndrome also affects 5 %, pregnant women.
How many blood clotting disorders are there?
-There are several clotting disorders like arterial blood gas(ABG), Prothrombin gene mutation, elevated levels of homocysteine, factor V Leiden, elevated levels of fibrinogen, anticoagulant, antithrombin III, activated partial thromboplastin (aPTT) etc.
What causes blood clotting disorders?
-As stated earlier, blood clotting disorder is caused when there is no clotting or excess amount of clotting. Proteins called platelets play an important role in the blood clotting. Some of the causes of blood clotting disorders are-
- Side effects from certain medications such as hormone therapy drugs
- Low count of red blood cells (RBC)
- Deficiency in vitamin K
- Sitting or bed rest for a long duration
How do you know if you have a blood clotting disorder?
-If you are experiencing swelling, pain or tenderness even if there has been no injury, the skin is warm or redness/discolouration of the skin, then you should consult the doctor. After proper diagnosis, it will be declared whether you have a blood clotting disorder or not.