Expert Opinion

5 Things You Should Know About Blood Clots


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Blood clot affects one to two of every 1,000 people, American Democratic party presidential nominee Hilary Clinton, Miami Heat NBA star Chris Bosh, tennis star Serena Williams and rapper Heavy D among them. If that isn’t reason enough to get to know more if you think even remotely you may have a clot forming, nothing else will persuade you. What do you need to know though?

Blood is a fluid that serves as a transport medium containing blood cells and is rich in oxygen, nutrients and chemicals. Blood is carried round the body within the blood vessels which could be either arteries or veins. For this to happen blood has to be maintained in a fluid state, striking a balance of not being ‘too thin’ as to cause bleeding or not being ‘solid’ thereby causing a blood clot. A blood clot is a gel-like clump of blood in the blood vessel. Having a blood clot is a serious medical condition that requires prompt intervention.

Forming a blood clot is the body’s normal response to stop bleeding following an injury, however sometimes blood clots can occur abnormally (called a thrombus). A clot forms when there is an imbalance between the rate of blood flow, the blood vessels and the proteins required for coagulation. When a blood clot is present within the blood vessel there is obstruction in blood flow and may affect blood supply to affected organs. Blood clots could form in the veins or arteries. Venous blood clots usually occur in the large deep veins of the leg.

Occasionally, the blood clot can detach from the vein and be carried in the blood stream to the lungs, where it forms a wedge in the blood vessel and blocks blood supply to the lungs. Arterial clots are somewhat different from venous clots. They are usually as a result of deposits of atherosclerotic plaques within the arteries which rupture, causing the blood vessel to form a blood clot at that site. It may occur in blood vessels supplying vital organs such as the heart or brain.

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