When you get a small injury or cut yourself, the clumps of blood form at the affected portion. They are called blood clots and it is a normal biological response. These clots prevent excessive bleeding by plugging the opening of the blood vessel that has been bleeding. In this respect, blood clots are advantageous for the body. However, there are specific instances of blood clotting that may be harmful to your body.
When the blood starts clotting inside your veins and refuses to dissolve in a natural manner, it is the cause for concern. Such clots form without any apparent reason like injury or wound. So, when you notice the blood clots forming on any parts of the body you should immediately seek the medical help. The situation may even be worse if the clots start forming in the interior parts of the brain or lungs that can lead to life-threatening situations. There are different causes of such blood clots.
When you get an injury it triggers the thickening of the blood components called platelets and proteins. As a result, a semisolid mass is formed. However, sometimes this process of thickening happens without any injury. Such clots can also move around your body affecting different parts. There are a number of causes that can result in such type of blood clotting instances. Some of the causes include:
- Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis
- Specific types of medications like oral contraceptives and hormone therapy drugs
- Antiphospholipid syndrome
- Factor V Leiden
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Family history
- Heart attack
- Heart arrhythmias (problems in the rhythm of the heart)
- Heart failure
- Polycythemia Vera
- Sitting for prolonged periods or a long bed rest
- Peripheral artery disease
- Pulmonary embolism (blood clot formed in an artery in the lung)
If you notice a blood clot on any part of your body (especially legs) you should seek medical care. However, if the clotting is associated with any of the below-mentioned conditions then you should be alarmed and prefer emergency help:
- A cough producing bloody sputum
- Increased speed of the heartbeat
- Feeling difficulty or pain while breathing
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Pain that goes up to the arm, shoulder, jaw or back
- Sudden instances of feeling numbness in arm, face or leg or weakness in these areas
- Sudden instances of aphasia (difficulty in speaking or understanding the speech)
- Feeling changes in your vision
The exterior symptoms of blood clotting include
Don’t sit in the same place for long hours. For example, if you are going for a long drive in the car then periodically halt the car, get down and walk around a few steps. If you have to cover long distances by train, plane or bus then you can walk the aisle
If you have been taking a bed rest for a long time then consult your doctor to check if you can start taking short walks or move around a few steps periodically.
- While travelling consider drinking a good quantity of fluids as dehydration is also one of the causes for the formation of blood clots
- Excess weight, high blood pressure, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle are some of the lifestyle-related causes of blood clotting. So you need to change your lifestyle in order to minimize the risk of blood clotting
Some of the diseases that can result in the formation of blood clots include:
Buerger’s disease is one of the rare kinds of diseases that causes inflammation and swelling of blood vessels of your legs and arms along with blood clotting. Such a situation can gradually start destroying the skin tissues and extreme cases may also include gangrene.
The first instances of the Buerger’s disease are apparent in your feet and hands where you can notice the formation of blood clots without any apparent reason. The disease then spreads to other parts like legs or arms.
Tobacco is the major cause of Buerger’s disease. Smoking cigarette, chewing tobaccos or consuming it in any other way can lead to these diseases. So, the best way to stop this disease is by avoiding the consumption of any type of tobacco. If not taken care of at the earlier stages the disease may also lead to amputation of the affected limbs.
- Feeling intermittent pain in feet, legs hand or arms You generally feel the pain while using the feet or hands and it stops when you stop the activity of the limb.
- Inflammation caused just below the surface of the skin that is caused by a blood clot present in that vein
- Paleness on toes and fingers when you expose them to cold
- Open sores on toes and fingers that are painful
During the advanced stage of the disease, the blood flow to the toes and fingertips is interrupted due to blockages. It reduces the blood flow rate to your legs and arms. Hence the tissues are deprived of the required nutrients and oxygen that makes it more difficult for them to survive. As a result, the tissue in these areas starts dying that causes gangrene. The skin becomes blue or black and the patient experiences a decrease in or a total loss of feeling in these areas. Amputation is the only cure in many such cases
As tobacco is the major reason behind this disease, the only way to prevent it is to stop using tobacco especially cigarettes. While willpower helps a lot in quitting the smoking you should consult your doctor about the best strategies.
There is no specific test to determine the presence of Buerger’s disease. However, there are several tests that can weed out the possibility of other conditions causing similar symptoms and help the doctors to confirm that the symptoms are associated with burger disease
- Blood tests: These tests are can confirm at the symptoms in your body are not associated with lupus, diabetes or other more common conditions apart from Buerger’s disease hence confirming the suspicion that you are suffering from Buerger’s disease
- The Allen test: In this type of test the blood flow passing via your arteries that supply blood to your hands is tested.
- Angiogram: Angiogram the condition of arteries is checked either via invasive techniques or MRI/CT Scan.
- Dilating blood vessel by taking the prescribed medication can help in improving blood flow thus dissolving the blood clots
- Compressing arms or legs periodically to enhance the blood flow to the greater length
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Cutting the nerves of the affected area with the help of surgery in order to increase the blood flow while controlling the pain
- In case of gangrene, amputation is the solution
This is a rare type of disorder in which the body starts producing a huge quantity of blood platelets. Apart from the increased risk of blood clots you also start feeling fatigued. Change in vision, headaches, and light-headedness are other major changes caused by this disease. The disease is more commonly found in the senior citizen who has crossed the age of 50. As for the gender, it is more common in women than in men. There is still no cure for this disease. While the mild form of the disease may not need any treatment the severe cases are controlled by using the medication for reducing the platelet.
While there aren’t any noticeable symptoms related to this disease, you may find the formation of blood clots generally in feet, hands or brain. Other symptoms of the disease include
- A headache
- Pain in chest
- Temporary changes in vision
- Tingling or numbness of hand or feet
- Pain accompanied by throbbing or redness in the feet and hands
In rare cases, the disease might also cause bleeding. It happens when the volume of platelets is extremely high. The bleeding may occur as:
- Nose bleeding
- Bleeding from gums or mouth
- Blood in stool
The disease may also affect the arteries that carry the blood to your brain. In such cases, the stroke or transient ischemic attack may occur. Also known as ministroke, in this type of stroke, the blood flow to part of the brain is temporarily interrupted. There are several symptoms attached to this condition that include:
- Feeling weakness or numbness in arm leg or fact
- Changes in vision (blurring. decreased capability etc.)
The chronic myeloproliferative disorder is one of the major causes of Essential thrombocythemia In his condition the bone marrow start making a huge volume of specific cell types. In this specific context, the bone marrow starts producing a huge quantity of those cells that create platelets.
- What exactly causes the above situation is still unclear. As many as 90% of the people suffering from Essential thrombocythemia have an acquired gene mutation. The normal platelet volume should be 150,000 to 450,000 per micro-litre. However, people with these diseases have over 450,000 platelets per microliter
- Due to their excess volume, the normal functioning of platelet is disturbed and that is the reason for blood clotting. In secondary thrombocythemia, the underlying conditions are responsible for high platelet counts like infection or iron deficiency.
- It is more common to find blood clotting in secondary thrombocythemia than in the Essential thrombocythemia
There are a number of risks and complications associated with Essential thrombocythemia
- Stroke: If the clots are formed in the way of the blood passage going to your brain you can experience a stroke. In that case, you should immediately see the doctor
- Heart attack: If the blood flow to your heart is blocked by the clots it can result in the heart attack that requires instant attention
- Excessive bleeding: Bleeding from certain part (s), bruising or bleeding gums
The life-threatening complications associated with Essential thrombocythemia
- Acute myelogenous leukaemia: specific cancer affecting white blood cells and bone marrow
- Myelofibrosis: In this disorder, the bone marrow gets scarred that can result in enlargement if liver and spleen or severe anaemia
The diagnosis of this condition is mainly based on eliminating the possibility of other similar conditions or causes that can increase the platelet rate.
- Blood tests: Your blood will be checked for number, size, and activity of the platelets, specific genetic flaws, inflammation and iron levels
- Bone marrow aspiration: A small amount of bone marrow (liquid) is extracted via needle and studied for abnormal cells present.
- Bone marrow biopsy: In this test, a solid tissue of your bone marrow is extracted via needle and is studied to ascertain whether it has more than average quantity of large cells that make platelets
There is no permanent cure for this disease. However, there are several medications and prevention options that can control the condition and prevent it from resulting in higher complications. The treatment of Essential Thrombocythemia generally depends upon bleeding or blood clotting possibilities/instances.
- For instance general, periodic medical checkups are enough for the people below 60 years without having any apparent sign
- The medication is prescribed for the patients above 60 years with a TIA or blood clotting history
- Various types of cardiovascular risk factors including but not limited to high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes
- Eat balanced meals with the required amount of variety like vegetable fruits, grains (while). Avoid saturated or trans fats. Avoid overeating and go for the right food portion control
- Taking low doses of aspirin can help you overcome the more severe effects of Essential Thrombocythemia. The aspirin’s chemical composition can reduce the stickiness of the platelets that prevents the formation of clots in your blood.
- Changing lifestyle can also help you prevent the condition from getting worse. Several conditions like diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure increase the risk of clotting.
- Avoid living a sedentary lifestyle and steadily increase your physical activities without overstraining yourself.
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