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What Causes Blood Clots?

What Causes Blood Clots?

Clotting of blood can be described as the thickening or coagulation of blood when it is flowing through the blood vessels. This can be harmful for the health and even result in death, in extreme cases. Read this article to find out the probable causes of blood clots.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2018
Precipitate and narrowing of the blood vessels – arteriosclerosis
When we have a small cut or an injury, then it results in a breakage in the blood vessels, which then start bleeding. After some time, the bleeding stops and we can see that the blood has thickened and clots have formed at the injury site. The blood clotting process is facilitated by the inner lining of the blood vessels, blood proteins, and blood platelets. Thus, the body seals an external injury by clotting the blood thereby preventing its loss. However, if the clotting takes place inside the blood vessels, then it could be a serious health complication. A blood clot inside the blood vessels is referred to as a thrombus. In the following sections, we are going to discuss the various causes of blood clot formation in the different parts of the body.
Causes of Blood Clots
There are various reasons that can lead to blood clots in the human body. Depending on the location of the clot, these reasons can differ. The following paragraphs provide ample information in this regard.
Brain
The carotid arteries are those blood vessels that are located in the neck area and are responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If any clot is formed inside these particular arteries, then it will block the blood circulation in the brain, resulting in deficiency of oxygen. This is a serious health condition and can cause a mini stroke or transient ischemic attack. If a big blood clot is formed inside the brain, then it can lead to a stroke. These arterial clots occur due to plaque deposits inside the arteries. High blood pressure, high cholesterol level, smoking, diabetes, etc., mainly trigger this kind of arterial clots.
Lungs
The pulmonary artery is the one that extends from the heart to the lungs. If a blood clot or thrombus from any part of the body travels through the bloodstream and gets stuck inside the pulmonary artery, then the condition is known as pulmonary embolism. This kind of a blood clot blocks the blood from reaching the lungs. This could be a life-threatening condition. Any kind of damage in the lungs, deep vein thrombosis, or abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) are some of the factors that are often held responsible for this kind of blood clotting inside the lungs.
Legs
Clotting of blood inside the veins of the legs is termed as deep vein thrombosis. Immobility of the legs for a prolonged period of time mostly gives rise to this kind of a health condition. Surgery, hospitalization, or the use of a cast or splint forces the legs to stay in an immobilized state for a long time. Long air travel or road travel can also minimize the mobility of the legs. As the blood gets pulled towards the legs due to gravity, lack of movements result in the formation of blood clots in the legs. Pregnancy, smoking, hereditary clotting disorders, etc., can cause deep vein thrombosis. Blockage in the femoral artery of the legs can also cause the blood to clot in the legs. If left untreated, it can lead to serious infections like gangrene.
Eyes
Blood clots in the eye are mostly formed due to an injury to the eyes. Other than that, vigorous rubbing of the eyes, excessive eye strain, coughing, sneezing, high blood pressure, etc., can also give rise to this condition. The clots of blood formed in the eyes can change position from time to time. If it exists for a long time, then it can lead to loss of vision. Smoking can thicken the minor clots and make them hard to dissolve. The eyes should be rested as much as possible when there are any blood clots in the eye. In newly formed clots, warm compression or application of rose water can be helpful. If it does not work, medical intervention should be sought.
Menstruation
Many women have multiple blood clots in the flow during menstruation and it is normal. These mainly occur on the heaviest days of bleeding. The natural mechanism of the body is to release anticoagulants to prevent the menstrual blood from clotting. However, when the period is heavy, the blood is expelled so rapidly that the anticoagulants are unable to work normally. This leads to the formation of blood clots.
Treatment for Blood Clots
➜ The treatment for blood clots is based upon the location, size, and overall health condition of the patient. If the blood clot in the artery leads to a heart attack or stroke, then it has to be treated aggressively.
➜ It involves the administration of medicines directly to dissolve the clots quickly. In serious cases, arterial clots are removed by means of a surgery. In case the clot is formed in the veins, particularly in the lower part of the body, then there are high chances of pulmonary embolism.
➜ Hence, the size and location of the clot has to be monitored with the help of ultrasound examinations. Initially, blood thinners like heparin are injected into the fleshy tissue to dissolve the clots. Then, warfarin is prescribed which has to be taken orally. Sometimes, application of heat, pain killers, etc., prove to be helpful in reducing the swelling of the affected area.
Hope you have got a clear idea about the causes and treatment of blood clots. Since the condition can give rise to life-threatening conditions, prevention of blood clot formation is essential. It can be achieved by following a healthy diet, doing regular exercises that include calf and leg exercises, and maintaining proper body weight.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.