What are blood clots?
Blood clots are blood masses produced by the body to stop bleeding in the wall of a blood vessel.
Blood clotting is a necessary process to prevent the body from losing too much blood. Blood coagulation, together with vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) and plaque formation are part of a process called hemostasis. Hemostasis allows body blood can be maintained within the blood vessels.
Consequences of forming clots
Blood clots usually vanish gradually as a wound heals. However, in some situations, the body fails to dissolve clots, so they can become dangerous. Among the most problematic situations, we can mention the following:
- Thrombus: A thrombus is a blood clot that forms inside the walls of blood vessels or heart. Thrombi decrease the diameter of the blood vessels, making blood flow more difficult, which is known as thrombosis. (More information on thrombosis in the listing above)
- Embolus: An embolus is a blood clot that breaks loose from the wall of a blood vessel and travels along blood vessels. At one point, it may be trapped somewhere causing a blood blockage, that can have serious consequences. This phenomenon is known as embolism, for example, it can cause a pulmonary embolism when a pulmonary embolus blocks an artery. (More information about embolism in the listing above)
Symptoms of blood clots
Clots often do not have any symptoms. Other times they can present very different symptoms related to the body organ or body part they affect, as the following: fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, lack of urination, blood in the urine, flank pain, swelling with numbness, possible redness, lumps in the veins, gangrene, etc.
Causes of clots
The main causes that produce blood clots are:
- Genetic factors: Some people have a genetic predisposition to produce increased blood clotting.
- Diseases of the blood vessels: Among them we have, for example, phlebitis, arrhythmia, endocarditis, hypertension, heart failure, or obstruction of the carotid arteries or veins.
- Increased proportion of coagulation factors: There are a number of proteins, called coagulation factors (fibrinogen, prothrombin, calcium, etc) that facilitate blood clotting. For example, when fibrinogen levels are higher, you are more likely to blood clots. These levels in particular can be enhanced by the ingestion of drugs or certain stages of life, including pregnancy.
- Other proteins, such as protein C, have anticoagulant properties. Deficiencies in these vitamins can promote blood clotting too much.
- Strokes or accidents: they can cause injuries to the inside of blood vessels that encourage blood clots. (For example, accidents that affect the entire body. Fractures of legs, hips, femur)
- Burns: burned tissues may enter the bloodstream.
- Surgical procedures: heart surgery, pelvic surgery, etc)
- Ingestion of certain drugs, such as oral contraceptives, or cocaine.
- Atherosclerosis: The arteries can be blocked by plaques consisting of cholesterol and fats that stick to walls and harden them as different components, such as calcium, adhere to them. Atherosclerosis is responsible for the formation of clots.
- Cholesterol: The presence of “bad” cholesterol promotes the formation of clots.
- Smoking: Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor that decreases the thickness of the arteries and coronary vessels, increases heart rate and blood pressure. Smoking is one of the leading causes of circulatory diseases, such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, heart failure, etc.
- Alcohol: Alcohol increases blood pressure. Continued alcohol consumption can lead to problems of hypertension. Many doctors believe that a little alcohol helps improve circulation and prevent heart disease, but alcoholism is detrimental to the body and causes it many anomalies.
- Physical inactivity: inactivity, such as sitting for too long, air travel, traveling by car, by train for long hours, staying in bed for several days, etc. may promote clots.
- Poor diet: A poor diet, rich in saturated fats and low in anticoagulant food may promote clots. (More information on the diet against blood clots in the listing above)
Diagnosis and treatment of blood clots
The diagnosis of blood clots is based on a physical examination of the area you may have symptoms of blood clots. In some cases you may need other tests to identify blood clots as angiograms, ultrasound or angiography.
The official treatment of blood clots is focused on the use of blood thinning drugs to prevent the formation of new clots, thrombolytic drugs used to dissolve blood clots, anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce inflammation and reduce pain.
The natural treatment of blood clots is based on the use of a series of natural resources that can help prevent or treat blood clots.