Before we proceed with the essential aspects, let us first define fibrinogen. It is well known as an important protein in the body that helps stop bleeding with its key role in blood clot formation. The protein is manufactured in the liver.
Fibrinogen is a soluble, sticky, and fibrous large coagulant which is converted by thrombin into an insoluble protein called fibrin all through the blood clotting process in the presence of calcium ions.
Aside from the significance in its conversion to fibrin, fibrinogen is involved in inducing platelet activation and aggregation.
However, in some cases, fibrinogen can also be the principal cause of a serious health problem especially those related to either excessive bleeding and formation of too much blood clots.
There have now been different studies organized to further understand the risks and possible solutions for people with fibrinogen deficiencies.
Now that we have a good background on what is fibrinogen, below are some further significant aspects about the protein.
Essential Aspects About Fibrinogen and Fibrinogen Levels
1. Fibrinogen Levels
A normal fibrinogen level in the blood is 2 to 4 g/l.
If fibrinogen levels in examination results is found normal, it means the amount of fibrinogen can perform its task on blood clot formation effectively.
If the result is abnormal, it is either at a higher or lower level compared to the normal range of supposed fibrinogen in the blood.
It may be due to excessive usage of fibrinogen, hemorrhage, or an inherited fibrinogen deficiency.
If treatment is required by the doctor, a fibrinogen concentrate may be considered.
2. What is a Fibrinogen Concentrate?
It is a hematological agent indicated for the treatment of people with acquired Hypofibrinogenemia and Afibrinogenaemia.
It works by replacing the lost amount of fibrinogen in the body in order to help restore the protein’s functional role in blood clotting.
Fibrinogen concentrate contains albumin, which comes from human blood. It is usually admnistered via injection at the doctor’s office.
The concentrate is stored as a lyophilized powder at room temperature and can be reconstituted quickly using sterile water.
Fibrinogen concentrate is considered the lifeblood in the treatment of bleeding problems from people with inherited afibrinogenaemia, and it is now also being used for hypofibrinogenemia.
There are four fibrinogen concentrates that are currently available: Haemocomplettan (CSL Behring, Marburg, Germany), FIBRINOGENE T1 and Clottagen (LFB, Les Ulis, France), Fibrinogen HT (Benesis, Osaka, Japan) and FibroRAAS (Shangai RAAS, Shangai, China).
3. Fibrinogen Test
Doctors can administer a test to diagnose persons with possible fibrinogen deficiency.
The test is called “Fibrinogen Activity Test”, which is specifically used to determine the levels of fibrinogen in the blood. It will be helpful in identifying possible relations to any abnormal bleeding.
During the test, the doctor will take a blood sample from the patient’s arm and will have it sent to laboratory for analysis.
Fibrinogen Activity Test can also be used in evaluating risks for cardiovascular diseases and placental abruption.
There is very little risk associated with the test. But some people may suffer from infections, bleeding, and hematoma (blood accumulation under the skin).
- Ana Bronić, Desiree Coen Herak, Sandra Margetić, & Marija Milić (2019). Croatian Society of Medical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine: National recommendations for blood collection, processing, performance and reporting of results for coagulation screening assays prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, thrombin time, fibrinogen and D-dimer.
4. Low Fibrinogen Levels
The doctor or hematologist may order some blood tests if you are suffering from symptoms like excessive bleeding from the gums, frequent nose bleeding, blood in your stool or urine, and excessive bruising.
It could be due to low fibrinogen levels.
There will usually be no certain preparations required but the doctor may advise you to quit any intake of medications prior to the test schedule.
You might feel a little pain or a sense of stinging upon needle injection during the withdrawal of blood. Throbbing usually takes place afterwards.
5. Types of Fibrinogen Deficiency
First is Afibrinogenaemia, an inherited quantitative fibrinogen deficiency which can be determined when no fibrinogen present in the blood can be measured. The condition causes the inability of the blood to clot normally during an onset of bleeding which can lead to severe blood loss compared to the other types of fibrinogen deficiency.
Second is Hypofibrinogenaemia, which is also an inherited fibrinogen deficiency. The patients with the type of defect suffer from a decreased level of fibrinogen from that of normal amounts.
Lastly, Dysfibrinogenaemia, a qualitative fibrinogen deficiency described as the presence of a defect marked by abnormalities in fibrinogen structure of the protein. This causes fibrinogen unable to function well.
6. Signs and Symptoms of Fibrinogen Deficiency
Afibrinogenaemia and Hypofibrinogenaemia have been associated with repeated miscarriage, and onset of bleeding during pregnancy and after the delivery of the baby.
Rare symptoms include clots and impaired wound healing after surgery. The most common areas of bleeding are mucus membranes, like the mouth and stomach.
In Dysfibrinogenaemia, signs of bleeding may take place after the birth of a baby, after a surgery, and dental extraction. Thrombosis or unusual blood clots in blood vessels are also observed in people with Dysfibrinogenaemia.
7. Elevated Fibrinogen
Many studies have shown that elevated fibrinogen levels in the body can cause serious cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart attacks, and even stroke. Elevated levels have also been linked to increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, and even cancer.
Researchers have also confirmed that persistent high fibrinogen levels in the blood can predict heart attack and strokes with undeniable accuracy.
Therefore, maintaining normal levels of fibrinogen is of huge and healthy importance.
8. Fibrinogen During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the plasma level of clotting factors changes.
Fibrinogen levels during this stage can elevate up to three times the normal value where thrombin also increases in level.
Hypercoagubility, an abnormality in blood coagulation, becomes a risk raising the tendency for pregnant women to develop thrombosis or unusual blood clots.
9. Turmeric Lowers Fibrinogen
Some research show that there may be a practical approach to reduce fibrinogen levels and the inherent risk of hypofibrinogenemia.
Curcuma longa, commonly known as “turmeric” could be the answer. It is an extremely potent antioxidant which intensely reduces levels of fibrinogen in the blood.
There have been trials performed with people who have an elevated level of fibrinogen.
In one of them, the individuals were given a small amount of turmeric extract everyday. Surprisingly, it did resulted to a drop in fibrinogen levels in all of them with no adverse side effects.
10. Fibrinogen Deficiency is Not Contagious
It is significant to understand that fibrinogen deficiency is not a contagious disorder and children with inherited fibrinogen deficiency can have normal lives.
If you have fibrinogen deficiency, the doctor may immediately prescribe replacement therapies or treatment procedures to control or stop any indication of bleeding.
If bleeding occurs unexpectedly, apply R-I-C-E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate) on the joint/muscle affected and contact your local hematologist.
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