Blood Clotting Disorder Hypercoagulation

Blood clotting normally occurs in healthy people when they are injured, to prevent blood from leaking out of blood vessels and to clog any holes in blood vessels. However, in some cases, blood clots can occur more often and when they are not necessary. When this happens, people are said to have clotting disorders.

Hypercoagulation disorders are present when blood clotting occurs more than it should normally. Sometimes blood clots can become lodged in the lungs and become life-threatening. Blood clots can cause:

  • heart attack
  • miscarriage
  • pulmonary embolism
  • stroke.

However, these effects usually only occur in severe cases.

Hypercoagulation can be caused by a number of factors. Inherited hypercoagulation blood disorders are often to blame. In most cases, a person’s body simply doesn’t make enough proteins that keep the blood from clotting too much. Some situations can also make hypercoagulation more common: Certain situations or risk factors can make it easier for your blood to clot too much. These situations include the following:

  • being on bed rest for many days
  • being pregnant or using birth control pills
  • having cancer or surgery
  • sitting too long, most often in a car or airplane.

Our articles cover all aspects of hypercoagulation, and hypercoagulation syndrome, including thrombophilia, factor V leiden mutation, prothrombin mutation, antithrombin deficiency, hyperhomocysteinemia, DIC, thrombocythemia and thrombocytopenia TTP.

Thrombophilia

Thrombophilia is a disorder in which blood clots more than it should. Thrombophilia leaves people at risk for blood clotting in the veins and sometimes in the arteries also.

People who have more than one unexplained instance of a blood clot may be suffering from thrombophilia.

Factor V Leiden Mutation

Factor V Leiden is one of the most common blood clotting disorders and affects approximately 5 percent of the Caucasian population and 1.2 percent of the African-American population.

Many people with Factor V Leiden can lead perfectly healthy lives, but a number of complications are possible with Factor V Leiden.

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, otherwise known as DIC, is a very serious condition. Those with DIC have proteins that are abnormally active in blood clotting. DIC risk factors include:

  • bacteria or fungus infection in the blood
  • certain cancers, including leukemia
  • complications from pregnancy
  • having a reaction to a blood transfusion
  • liver disease or tissue injury
  • recent surgery.

People who have these risk factors should be aware of the symptoms, signs and complications of DIC.

Thrombocythemia

Thrombocythemia occurs when a person’s body produces more platelets than normal. This leads to abnormal bleeding or blood clotting.

While the cause of thrombocythemia is unknown, it occurs more often in women and people over 50. A diagnosis can be made by a doctor using a routine blood screening and by reviewing a person’s symptoms.

Often, no symptoms are present in people with thrombocythemia.

Resources

Family Doctor (2007). Hypercoagulation: Excessive Blood Clotting. Retrieved September 20, 2007, from the Family Doctor Web site: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/blood/244.html.

Medline Plus (2007). Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Retrieved September 20, 2007, from the Medline Plus Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000573.htm.

Merck (2007). Thrombocythemia. Retrieved September 20, 2007, from the Merck Web site: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec14/ch178/ch178d.html.