Antithrombin is also known as Antithrombin III or AT 3, is a small protein molecule that plays an important role in helping control blood clotting in our body, and it is one of the clotting factors that help our body to avoid the circumstances of extreme blood loss.
It is a natural blood thinner produced by the liver. You may notice the blood turning from liquid into a gel-like texture in an open wound, that is the blood clotting.
In some cases, a person develops a clotting disorder like the occurrence of blood clots inside the veins in certain parts of the body, this is where antithrombin III deficiency comes to light, which if left untreated, may cause more serious problems in the body.
Antithrombin III or AT 3
1. Antithrombin III has two types: Inherited and Acquired
The inherited antithrombin deficiency has a higher risk for blood clots in the body since it is due to a genetic abnormality. It has two categories: Type I which is described as a decrease in antithrombin activity and its concentration in the blood of the affected individual and Type II which is the normal level of antithrombin in the body but a decrease of its activity in the blood of the affected individual.
The acquired antithrombin deficiency is associated with underlying disorders in the individual such as liver and kidney diseases, cardiac surgeries, a protein losing condition, etc. It can be a result of treatment for certain type of blood disorders. It is more prevalent than inherited antithrombin deficiency.
2. Antithrombin III deficiency is life threatening
Antithrombin III is a very rare condition that only a few people and professionals in medicine have an idea about it.
It can create serious damage in the body and on some situations it can cause heart attack or stroke if left untreated.
Persons with antithrombin deficiency must consult a hematologist or a doctor so they can run a test to determine the level and activity of antithrombin in the body.
3. Antithrombin III deficiency chooses no one.
Antithrombin deficiency is a very rare disorder but can affect either men or women, equally.
In the United States, one in every 3,000 to 5,000 people is affected by antithrombin deficiency.
And 1 % of the people who developed blood clots in the veins (venous thrombosis) has an inherited antithrombin deficiency.
4. Pregnant women with antithrombin III deficiency has slightly increased risk than others.
A woman with antithrombin deficiency has a slightly higher risk for developing blood clots during pregnancy or after delivery.
Pregnancy loss is likely due to a blood clot present in the placenta which causes the supply of blood and oxygen to the fetus to be cut-off.
Reports found incidences ranges from 3% to 50% anywhere in the world.
A new born baby can inherit the antithrombin deficiency from one or both parent.
5. Antithrombin III deficiency treatment
The primary goal of treatment is to prevent abnormal blood clotting.
Hematologists still debate on the most effective treatment for people with antithrombin deficiency due to lack of clinical studies on it over the years.
Antithrombin concentrates are given depending on the status of the individual having antithrombin deficiency. It is also used to prevent venous blood clots when other blood thinners like heparin is not advisable for they can cause an increased risk for bleeding.
6. Antithrombin III deficiency Test
The test is requested by the doctor if the person suffers from blood clots in the veins or other parts of the body more than once.
It is administered by a nurse or health care specialist where they take a blood sample that is usually drawn from the arm of the patient using a small needle and is sent to the lab for analysis.
Antithrombin III deficiency test may sometimes make you feel uncomfortable when the blood sample is drawn, where others may suffer from fainting or infections on the puncture site.
7. Reduce the risk of blood clot
There are different ways to avoid the occurrence of blood clots in the body such as: doing your exercise regularly for this will improve the body’s ability to dissolve a clot that may have formed and maintains the blood flow in the veins, to avoid long periods of stationary movements especially when you have an illness or travelling far distances.
Seeking medical advice is very important before taking actions in the management of a blood clot. Therefore, prevention is better than cure as they always say.
8. Smoking and Obesity can cause Antithrombin deficiency
Smoking can damage the vessel walls in the lungs and other parts of the body which will decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood. This can potentially lead to clot formation inside the damage walls.
Obesity also causes poor circulation of blood in the veins due to the formation of unnecessary fats around it making the veins narrow, increasing the risk for blood clot formation.
9. Antithrombin deficiency test results
Lower-than-normal antithrombin can mean that you have an increased risk of clotting and you have antithrombin deficiency. This can occur when there is not enough antithrombin in your blood, or when there may be enough in your blood, but it doesn’t work right and is less active.
Higher than normal antithrombin, on the other hand, has values that may not indicate any significant health problems.The doctor will explain the lab results after taking the test and will help you understand more about it.
10. It can be stressful
Undergoing diagnosis and treatment for antithrombin deficiency can cause stress to the person. Coping up with stress is the best way for the person affected to be treated fast and early.
The family should support any member who suffers from antithrombin deficiency and understand their situation.
It may not easy but never hesitate to ask help from the doctors for they will be happy to help you in your treatment.
The treatment will also assist you avoid the development of a more complicated disease that could arise from the abnormal presence of blood clots in the body. It will help you become aware of your body’s needs in the prevention and management of blood clots or antithrombin deficiency.
- READ MORE