What are blood clots?
Blood cells are conventionally divided into three large groups: erythrocytes (red cells that carry oxygen), leukocytes (white cells, defense cells that catch pathogens in the blood) and platelets (non-nuclear repair cells). Blood clots, as you might guess, are formed due to platelets. The process of blood clot formation is a defense mechanism, without it we would die from blood loss even after a minor injury. They are the first to rush to the site of injury – to a wound, ulcer, thinning – and form a clot that clogs the damage in the vessels, stopping bleeding. When the wound heals, these blood clots dissolve on their own. The process of blood clot formation is also called blood coagulation. And the whole system – keeping the blood in a liquid state, the formation of blood clots and the dissolution of blood clots – is called hemostasis.
Problems arise if the balance of the blood coagulation and anticoagulation systems is disturbed. Sometimes they are solved with the help of: https://pillintrip.com/medicine/klexane. With various diseases of the circulatory system, pathologies of the vascular walls, disorders of hemostasis, there are prerequisites for thrombus formation.
As a result, blood clots can be found where there is no need for their “repair” function (at least in such a volume) – in veins, arteries of different diameters and even in the cavities of the heart. In any case, this is a pathology, but the nature and level of risk depend on the location of the blood clots.
The mechanisms of blood clot formation in arteries and veins are different, these are different types of vessels. According to WHO statistics, every fourth person on the planet is at risk of developing a blood clot. When a blood vessel is blocked by a thrombus (in whole or in part), blood flow is disturbed in it – this condition is called thrombosis. Thrombosis can occur when the vascular wall is damaged: in this case, platelets perform their natural function and “patch gaps”, but this leads to undesirable consequences. Damage to the vascular wall can occur, for example, with its inflammation: phlebitis (inflammation of the veins), arteritis (inflammation of the arteries). This is why some diseases that we used to consider purely aesthetic (for example, varicose veins) are in fact a serious threat. The second cause of thrombosis is changes in the nature of blood flow, the formation of “eddies” in the places of vasoconstriction and expansion. It may be a congenital pathology, or it may be a consequence of the same varicose veins. The third reason for thrombus formation in blood vessels is genetic. It is associated with a change in blood viscosity. In addition to hereditary factors, various medications, as well as smoking, can increase blood viscosity. There are genetic tests that can determine the predisposition to the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels and choose a drug that thinns the blood. The latter is especially important when planning pregnancy: placental vascular thrombosis is one of the most common causes of miscarriage.
Now in medicine there is a whole direction – pharmacogenetics, which allows you to predict how effective or dangerous a drug will be in an individual patient, taking into account the characteristics of his genes. This is actively used when prescribing drugs that affect the coagulation system.
Such studies are also carried out, for example, before prescribing oral hormonal contraceptives. This allows doctors to prevent dangerous complications and prescribe the necessary medications.
The formation of a blood clot in an artery leads to a heart attack – the death of living tissue due to the cessation of blood circulation. When we talk about a heart attack, we usually mean the heart. But we can talk literally about any organ, for example, about the eyes (which is why you need to be examined regularly by an ophthalmologist), kidneys or spleen.
In the veins, the formed blood clots can break off or increase, and with the blood flow end up in the arteries of the lungs, leading to a dangerous complication – thromboembolism of the pulmonary arteries.
There are laboratory tests to determine the parameters of the blood coagulation system:
Homocysteine - Excessive accumulation of this amino acid (elevated blood levels) leads to a high risk of thrombosis.
Antiphosphlipid syndrome (APS) is a special condition in which blood clots can form in all blood vessels, and is detected by laboratory results.
Coagulogram, hemostasiogram allow you to find out how thick or liquid the blood is at the present time. This study is often prescribed during planning and during pregnancy.
We have already talked about genetic tests. Based on the results of the examination, it can be clear whether special drugs are needed that affect the blood coagulation system, whether it is possible to do without them, or whether it is necessary to prevent thrombus formation by other methods. For example, with varicose veins, the problem will be solved in a completely different way. As a screening procedure, women and men over 35 years old should have a duplex scan of the veins of the lower extremities every two years to prevent the development of varicose veins. It is best to have the operation on time, not.