Blood clotting disorders

If you get a wound, a scab will appear within a short time. It is a complicated process of blood clotting that prevents you from losing too much blood and causing an infection. It may seem obvious that this happens, but in some people there is an abnormality in blood clotting. In them, the blood clots too slowly, causing the wound to continue to bleed, or the blood clots too quickly, causing a risk of thrombosis.

The blood clotting

If you have a wound that bleeds, blood vessels are damaged. The blood clotting process is initiated to quickly close the wound and prevent all kinds of germs from entering that cause infections. The blood vessels will contract to lose as little blood as possible. Platelets stick together in the wound edges to form a clot. In the meantime, a complicated chain reaction takes place in which proteins are converted. Finally, the clotting factor fibrinogen is converted to fibrin . The fibrin formed forms a network of threads that connect the wound edges and the platelets. A crust forms. After the wound is closed, the body will repair the damaged tissue. Some wounds leave a scar afterwards.

Blood clotting disorders

Something could go wrong with the blood clotting. For example, due to an abnormality, it may take too long for the blood to clot or for a scab to form without there being a wound. Most blood clotting disorders involve insufficient blood clotting. The wound continues to bleed for too long or bleeding may occur quickly. Too much clotting can cause a blood vessel to become closed, causing thrombosis. There are many abnormalities in blood clotting. The most common conditions are mentioned.

Thrombosis

If the blood vessel is partially or completely blocked by a clot, this is called thrombosis. Normally a clot only forms in a wound. This is because platelets in the blood initiate the clotting process. Thrombosis is when blood clots form without a wound. Well-known causes are smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure. It can also be caused by a long bed rest. It is not always clear why blood clots form. Depending on the place where the thrombosis occurs, complaints will arise as a result of the lack of oxygen in the tissue. When blood vessels in the heart are affected, it is called a myocardial infarction. Sometimes a clot forms in the brain and leads to a cerebral infarction.

Embolism

If the blood clot breaks loose, it can travel elsewhere through the bloodstream and become stuck again. The tissue behind the closure no longer receives oxygen, which can cause it to die. It depends on the size of the clot exactly where it gets stuck. When it gets stuck in the brain, the symptoms are sometimes quite obvious. Then we often see paralysis symptoms, speech disorders and difficulty moving. If a clot forms in the smallest blood vessels, the capillaries, the symptoms are often less clear.

Factor V Leiden

This blood clotting disease is hereditary. With this condition, the blood clots faster than normal. The blood sometimes hardens without it being necessary, which can cause blood clots to form. If the blood clots become larger, it can lead to thrombosis. Thrombosis usually occurs in the legs, but it can also occur in other places, such as the eyes or lungs. If the blood clot gets stuck in the lungs, it is also called a pulmonary embolism. The risk of thrombosis increases if someone smokes, is taking the contraceptive pill or is pregnant.

Von Willebrand’s disease

This disease is usually hereditary, but it can also be caused by a disorder of the immune system or of the bone marrow. It can occur in both men and women. With this condition, the blood does not clot enough, which can cause bleeding. This disease is usually manifested by bleeding from the nasal mucosa or gums. The characteristics of this disease are: easy bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, heavy blood loss during menstruation and heavy bleeding after surgery or childbirth.

Hemophilia A and B

The cause of this condition also lies in the hereditary material. The blood clotting factors do not work properly and bleeding may occur that does not stop. In a severe form of hemophilia, a person may spontaneously experience internal bleeding. Bleeding usually occurs in joints and muscles. This can cause the joints to swell and be painful. This disease occurs almost exclusively in men. Women are usually only carriers of the disease, but they can transmit the disease to their child. If it occurs in a woman, the symptoms are usually very mild.

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)

This is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s defenses turn against themselves. In the case of ITP, the immune system will target the platelets, which reduces blood clotting. More platelets are broken down than normal. The cause of this disease is not always known. It can be caused by an infection, medications or if you already have an autoimmune disease. The symptoms of ITP are: easy bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds and bleeding in the kidneys or urinary tract.

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