10 Essentials On What is Thrombosis

what is thrombosis

Blood in the body is distributed through blood vessels. When damage is made on body tissues, it may harm the blood vessels thus, leading to the loss of blood. If the blood loss is not prevented, excess bleeding may occur hence, leading to the deficiency of blood. The body has its way of preventing blood loss. When a blood vessel is damaged, a blood component called the platelets gets activated for they are responsible for stopping bleeding. Platelets are fragments of a cytoplasm and is without cell nucleus. They are formed from fragmentation of megakaryocytes in the bone marrow and later released into the blood circulation. Inactive platelets are normally biconvex and discoid in shape; a shape that changes when they are activated due to a damage in the blood vessels.

What is thrombosis?

Thrombosis is the unnecessary formation of blood clots inside a blood vessel which may either take place in an artery or a vein. The clot may be formed as a result of excessive production of platelets, cells responsible for blood clotting. Also, a medical surgery, for it causes damage to internal body tissues, can also result to a blood clot inside the vessels.

1. Causes of Thrombosis

There are three main causes of thrombosis in the body. The first main cause is hypercoagulability. This is also called thrombophilia. A blood clot is formed due to genetic deficiencies or autoimmune disorders. The two factors may lead to the overproduction of platelets. However, in some instances, both may lead to the production of platelets that are very reactive where it can easily form a clot without the activation brought about by damaged blood vessels. Neutrophils can also cause thrombosis by mediating numerous pro-thrombotic actions. The second main cause of thrombosis is endothelial cell wall injury. Causes of injury to the walls include trauma, surgery, infection or turbulent flow at bifurcations. Disturbed blood flow can also lead to thrombosis. This happens as blood stagnates at points of injury thereby, initiating blood clotting.

2. Stages in of thrombosis

When a blood clot is formed inside the vein, it is called Deep Vein Thrombosis. As the blood is pumped from the heart, pressure may increase. The blood may eventually be dislodged and moved to other veins or body parts. For instance, when the clot is moved to the lungs, it can lead to fatal results that can be life threatening. At this point where the blood clot is present in the lungs, the thrombosis is referred to as pulmonary embolism. Also, pulmonary embolism may exist along when a clot is also formed in the heart.

3. Classification

There are two main classes of thrombosis. The classification depends on where the thrombus is formed. The first type is venous thrombosis. In this type, the thrombus is formed within the veins. Since there are different types of veins, venous thrombosis can be further subdivided according to the specific vein where the thrombus has formed. It usually affects the legs and arms. Portal vein thrombosis, renal vein thrombosis and jugular vein thrombosis; are some examples of venous thrombosis. The second type of thrombosis is the arterial thrombosis. This refers to the formation of a thrombus within an artery. It is also called atherothrombosis as it usually leads to the rapture of atheroma.

4. Thrombosis Symptoms

A patient with thrombosis will display a number of signs and symptoms. The signs include: Persistent headaches, vision problems, shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid heart rate, pain around the affected areas, swelling, reddish or bluish discoloration of the affected areas and the body may feel warm to touch. The signs, however, differ depending on the level of thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis has less fatal symptoms than pulmonary embolism. It is also possible for patients with thrombosis not to show any of these signs.

5. Effects of thrombosis

Thrombosis can lead to a number of effects on the patient. The effects depend on where the thrombosis has formed and how large has it become. A small thrombus will only reduce the amount of blood flowing through the affected blood vessel. Insufficient blood supply can result in effects such as general body weakness or fatigue. When treated in time, their effects can be controlled. In other cases, the thrombus may be very large that it blocks the entire blood vessel. This will deprive affected body tissues of oxygen. Some of the body cells cannot survive for so long without the supply of oxygen. The thrombus may, therefore, lead to permanent destruction of these cells. These extreme cases can lead to conditions such as stroke; which is the decline of the brain to function normally due to lack of enough blood flowing to it. Another effect of thrombosis is a heart attack or myocardial infarction, which is caused by ischemia when a thrombus completely blocks the coronary artery. To top it up, thrombosis can have fatal effects.

6. Risk factors for thrombosis

These are the factors that increase the probability of developing thrombosis. Some of these factors can be controlled while others cannot. These factors include smoking, prolonged immobility, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels in the body. Different factors increase the probability of thrombosis dependent on parts of the body and locations of the veins or arteries where it develops. Patients who are on hormone therapy are also in high risks of forming unnecessary blood clots. These include those using birth control pills.

7. Thrombosis can also be caused by an inherited clotting disorder

The frequency in the incidences of thrombosis in a family genealogy may increase chances of developing thrombosis. Thrombosis and other blood disorders can be transferred from parents to their offspring. In this case, the possibility of thrombosis can be more easily managed if detected earlier enough.

8. Examining for thrombosis

When a patient is suspected to have developed a blood clot, the first step is to obtain the patient’s history to determine the risk factor. If the risk factor calls for further examinations, an ultrasound detector may be used. It is, however, subject to body size and shape. Venography blood test and tomography are other methods utilized.

9. Treatment

In the treatment of thrombosis, anticoagulants are preferred. They help by slowing down the time for blood clotting to take place. They also prevent the growth of the thrombus. Examples of anticoagulants are heparin, warfarin and apixaban. The drugs can have a number of side effects such as excessive bleeding.

10. Prevention

Thrombosis can be prevented in a number of ways. Knowing the family history is one of them. Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and drinking a lot of water can also help prevent thrombosis. Prolonged immobility makes blood clots to form easily in the legs due to the force of gravity and stability. Thus, avoiding prolonged immobility can help prevent clot formation.

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