How Does Our Blood Clot? Ever Wonder?: You are within the kitchen chopping some vegetables once you accidentally cut yourself. You wash the wound with water, and it stops bleeding within a couple of minutes. This is often because the blood has formed a clot which helps the bleeding to prevent.
Ever wonder how blood actually clots?
The human blood is formed of many cells, each serving a special function. Amongst these cells are platelets – a kind of cell that’s liable for the clotting of blood. There are a number of various steps involved in blood coagulation. Below may be a brief description of what really happens.
1. The vessel sustains a cut or injury. This injury sends out signals to the platelets, which rush to the location of injury to start out the healing process. The platelets clump together and form a ‘platelet plug’ that plugs the opening through which the bleeding is happening.
2. A reaction begins which stimulates proteins within the blood (released from the liver) called clotting factors. These are called factors V, VII, IX and X (Roman numerals). The clotting factors are liable for the formation of fibrin, which are protein strands that help provide strength and stability to the platelet plug.
3. Since clotting may be a chemical change, there must be something to keep it under check in order that blood doesn’t still clot. These are ‘clotting police’, and include factors called protein C, protein S and similar proteins. They make sure that clotting only occurs where injury has taken place and not anywhere else within the body.
Over time, the grume becomes harder and is eventually weakened and disappears. This is often brought around by an enzyme called plasmin.
The entire clotting process takes around 2 to six minutes. Cool, right?!
But there’s a dark side to clotting.
Blood clotting may be a protective process, but is that the explanation for conditions like stroke and heart attacks. For instance, during an attack, the narrowed blood vessels that night have formed from atherosclerosis cause flow, causing damage to the vessel lining. This triggers the platelets within the bloodstream to make platelet clumps, eventually resulting in grume formation.
The grume blocks off the vessel, depriving the guts muscle of nourishing oxygen rich blood. This results in an attack. an identical phenomenon occurs within the brain also , resulting in strokes. It’s not uncommon for this to happen within the legs also , resulting in an ‘ischemic’ limb. This will cause gangrene, and sometimes may have amputation.
Blood thinners like Aspirin, Clopidogrel and Warfarin are required to stop this process in such situations. They are life saving treatments and should be needed in the future.