Blood Clotting Disorders: Types, Signs, And Navigate Effective Treatment

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Getting injured whether mild or severe can result in losing a certain amount of blood. Some people try to stop mild injuries by applying pressure on the affected part, enabling the body to clot the blood quickly. Sometimes, even if you don't apply pressure on your wound, your body will clot the blood to stop bleeding. This is how your body is programmed to protect you from harm or prevent further damage. However, when there's a blood clotting disorder, the body cannot effectively perform this function.

What Is Blood Clotting Disorder And Its Types?

Blood clotting disorder can also be called coagulation disorder. As usual, a disorder occurs when something isn't going as planned, so, in this case, if you get injured, hemorrhagic disorders like Hemophilia and von Willebrand disease increase bleeding because there are not enough clotting factors for the blood to clot the wound. However, when there are excess blood clots, they can accumulate in deep veins of the leg (Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT) and go to the lungs  (Pulmonary Embolism or PE), resulting in leg pain, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and rapid heart rate. 

symptoms of blood clotting disorder

Sadly, even the blood clotting disorder known as Von Willebrand disease can be inherited. So people with a family history of this disorder might be a victim of it. Moreover, the immune system can mistakenly attack the cell membrane components (phospholipids), a process known as Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS), resulting in blood clotting disorder. 

symptoms of blood clotting disorder.

Regular miscarriages:

It can be a painful experience for a pregnant woman experiencing regular miscarriages, unknowing to her that Antiphospholipid Syndrome APS is responsible. This condition targets the phospholipids and makes antibodies that produce blood clots in the placenta blood vessels. Sadly, the fetus doesn't need these blood clots so it will kill it and end up as another miscarriage. 

Vulnerability to bruises or bleeding

People with hemophilia and von Willebrand can easily bruise and bleed. This is because the former is due to insufficient blood clotting factors in the body. The latter is a dysfunction of a protein known as the von Willebrand factor that enables blood clotting. This is why even minor injuries cannot stop the bleeding and you might lose excess blood if immediate medical intervention isn't available. 

Leg pain and swelling:

Usually, when there are excess blood clots in the body. They need a place to stay since they aren't clotting any injury at the moment. So, the first home they find is the deep veins in the legs, a process known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). At this point, your leg will start feeling pain and swelling. It will affect your movement and give you discomfort. Medical attention is recommended at this stage. Failure to do something about it can increase the risk of getting a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) disorder.

Difficulty breathing:

Apart from excess bleeding from minor injuries, individuals might also find it hard to breathe properly. This is because Pulmonary Embolism (PE) disorder takes the broken blood clot that was originally stored in the deep veins of the legs due to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) to the lungs, blocking the pulmonary arteries. Since you will find it hard to breathe properly, breathing with your chest will be an option to ease the blood clot in the lungs. However, it doesn't work that way, so you'll end up having chest pain and an increased breathing rate.

Treatments For Blood Clotting Disorder

There are several treatment methods available for blood clotting disorders such as:

Immunosuppressive therapy:

The immune system can be managed with certain drugs, especially when it's misbehaving by attacking the body's tissues, due to  Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) disorder, creating antibodies that make blood clots that can cause frequent miscarriage. Immunosuppressive drugs include corticosteroids, such as prednisone, and other immunomodulators and they help to disable the immune system from making such harmful antibodies. 

Lifestyle changes:

This treatment option doesn't require any money from you. First, consider exercising because it increases blood flow to the heart and every part of the body, which can reduce the risk of blood clot formation, preventing or easing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Moreover, the kind of food you eat can also treat blood clotting disorders like Hemophilia or Von Willebrand Disease. Ensure you eat a balanced diet and hydrate properly. So that your body will not lack the sufficient blood clotting factor needed for blood clotting. As a result, excess bleeding and easy bruises will be rare.

Clotting factor replacement therapy:

In cases where a balanced diet isn't enough to treat hemophilia due to its severity and the specific clotting factor deficiency (Factor VIII or Factor IX), other alternatives should be adopted. Your doctor may prescribe factor concentrates made from donated blood plasma or through recombinant technology to boost the blood clotting factor in your body. Moreover, consistent prophylactic infusions or infusions on-demand can also help to prevent and manage excessive bleeding. 

Anticoagulant medications:

These drugs help to prevent or treat blood clots and they include oral and injection options known as warfarin or heparin. When you take warfarin orally, it still needs regular check-ups to ensure its effectiveness. However, heparin can be injected into you by a healthcare provider for short-term needs. Taking these medications increases your chances of preventing conditions like strokes, DVT, and PE.

Conclusion

Being unable to stop your body from bleeding even after a minor injury can be a severe case such as blood clotting disorder. It can make you feel helpless as you watch your body lose essential blood. These disorders can include Pulmonary Embolism (PE), Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS). They also come with unique symptoms such as regular miscarriage, vulnerability to bruises and bleeding, leg pain and swelling, and difficulty breathing. Fortunately, they can be treated through immunosuppressive therapy, lifestyle changes, clotting factor replacement therapy, and anticoagulant medications. Don't forget to consult your doctor for more guidance on blood clotting disorders.

References

  • Greaves M, Watson HG. Approach to the diagnosis and management of mild bleeding disorders. J Thromb Haemost. 2007;5 Suppl 1:167–74. CrossRef 
  • Harrison P. Platelet function analysis. Blood Rev. 2005;19(2):111–23. PubMed 

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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