Blood has a seemingly inconceivable job: It should circulate constantly and easily all through your physique for a complete lifetime, however rapidly shut off to stop spills whenever you get a lower or harm.
Blood clots are wholesome and lifesaving once they cease bleeding. However they’ll additionally kind once they aren’t wanted and trigger a coronary heart assault, stroke, or different severe medical issues.
How Does Blood Clot?
The life cycle of a traditional blood clot will depend on a collection of chemical interactions.
1. Platelets kind a plug. Tiny bits in your blood known as platelets get “turned on” by triggers launched when a blood vessel is broken. They stick with the partitions within the space and one another, altering form to kind a plug that fills within the damaged half to cease blood from leaking out.
When activated, platelets additionally launch chemical compounds to draw extra platelets and different cells, and to set off the subsequent step.
2. The clot grows. Proteins in your blood known as clotting components sign one another to trigger a fast chain response. It ends with a dissolved substance in your blood turning into lengthy strands of fibrin. These get snarled with the platelets within the plug to create a internet that traps much more platelets and cells. The clot turns into a lot harder and extra sturdy.
3. Reactions cease its progress. Different proteins offset further clotting issue proteins so the clot would not unfold farther than it must.
4. Your physique slowly breaks it down. Because the broken tissue heals, you do not want the clot any extra. The robust fibrin strands dissolve, and your blood takes again the platelets and cells of the clot.
What Causes Blood Clots?
The method begins every time flowing blood comes into contact with particular substances in your pores and skin or in blood vessel partitions. After they contact, it often means the pores and skin or blood vessel wall is damaged.
Waxy ldl cholesterol plaques that kind in arteries have this stuff inside, too. If the plaque breaks open, they’re going to begin the clotting course of. Most coronary heart assaults and strokes occur when a plaque in your coronary heart or mind all of the sudden bursts.
Blood clots can even kind when your blood would not circulate correctly. If it swimming pools in your blood vessels or coronary heart, the platelets usually tend to stick collectively. Atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are two circumstances the place slowly transferring blood may cause clotting issues.
Medicines Have an effect on the Clotting Course of
Some medicine cease platelets from signaling one another so they will not stick collectively.
Medicines known as blood thinners make it exhausting on your physique to make clotting components, or they stop proteins within the clot-forming course of from working.
Clot-dissolving medicine reminiscent of alteplase, streptokinase, and tenecteplase activate the protein that breaks down the fibrin strands. Generally docs prescribe it as a therapy for coronary heart assault or stroke.