Does blood clot reduce blood flow?

Does blood clot reduce blood flow?

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I read that blood clot reduces blood flow from few website and from doing an A level biology question; and if this blood clot is formed in pulmonary thrombosis, this can reduce gas exchange in lung.

However, how are we so certain this is true? If there is a blood clot, then blood pressure around that region increases I believe thus implying the blood will travel faster in that region? If so, then we can't firmly conclude blood clot will reduce blood flow as although blood clot will reduce the lumen of the vessel, the blood will also be travelling faster.

A blood clot can nearly completely or completely block an artery, in which case the blood flow will be reduced or stopped.

How do we know this?

Pulmonary Embolism (Merck Manuals):

Pulmonary infarction is when some of the lung tissue does not receive enough blood flow and oxygen and appears on imaging studies to die due to blockage of a lung blood vessel by a pulmonary embolus.

An embolus is a blood clot that usually develops in the leg veins in individuals with deep venous thrombosis, detaches and travels to a certain pulmonary artery and blocks it.

Similarly, atheroma (atherosclerotic plaque) that builds up within the artery and only partially blocks it, can reduce the blood flow to the target organ. For example, a partial blockage of a coronary artery can result in decreased blood supply to the heart and consequently in angina pectoris or myocardial infarction. It is then the investigation called coronary angiography that can show that a certain coronary artery is partially blocked.

When a clot interferes with blood flow (

In venous thromboembolism, a blood clot slows or stops the flow of blood through the veins…

Given the context of your comment on @Jan's answer above, it looks like you're asking if the continuity equation, $ ho_1A_1v_1 = ho_2A_2v_2$, applies to blood flow through a local vessel. The answer is that it doesn't, because the local vessel is not a closed system.

The continuity equation is derived from the principle of conservation of mass (see the earlier link) and requires that everything coming in at position 1 exit at position 2. Here, a blood clot, or specifically in your example, a pulmonary embolism, increases the resistance in one of a number of vessels in parallel. Blood flow is diverted to the parallel vessels with lower resistance, the ones without the clot. This is useful in a helpful clot at the site of injury as well as an unhelpful clot like a pulmonary embolism. Thankfully, a clot in an injured vessel has the ability to slow and finally stop the loss of blood. Again, this is allowed despite the continuity equation because there is an alternative path. Blood can either flow out of the vessel at the site of damage, or flow through the vessel.

The fact that changes in vascular resistance are met with changes in flow is a principle used to beneficial effect in normal physiology, not just the response to a clot. Arterioles, for example, regulate flow through vascular beds as needed, by increasing or decreasing resistance.

There is a case, a saddle embolus, where there is no parallel path. Here, though, flow still decreases because the pump fails (and pressure is lost). The rapid increase in resistance cannot be compensated for by the heart, and sudden death results.

Generally, when applying fluid dynamic principles to blood flow and the circulatory system, you have to consider whether the assumptions hold. Generally, you can apply the continuity equation to portions of the circulatory system in series (e.g., the cardiac output of the right heart has to equal the cardiac output of the left heart), but there are still caveats (vessel walls are not rigid -- they have a capacitance).

These principles are discussed in Costanzo Physiology Ch. 4.

A Guide To Preventing And Treating Blood Clots At Home

Although rare in the general population, blood clots are a substantial risk for some. Women taking artificial hormones, those who are immobilized for lengthy periods of time, and those who have recently had surgery are at particularly high risk. Although blood clots - also known as deep vein thromboses - can present a serious danger, there are many ways to prevent and treat them. The following preventative measures are doctor-approved ways to lower one's risk of developing this serious health problem.

Elevate Legs And Feet

One is at a higher risk of developing blood clots when blood pools in the lower extremities. Elevating the feet and legs will allow veins to return blood to the heart more efficiently and thus reduce the chances of clotting. Those who expect to be bedridden for a long time, such as after surgery or an illness, should put blocks under the foot of a bed to elevate the legs, keeping them slightly higher than the heart. Alternatively, placing pillows under one's lower half will give the same result.

Reduce Salt Intake

Salt irritates the endothelium (or inner lining) of the veins and arteries. As a result, blood vessels do not work as efficiently in moving blood around the body. This leads to blood pooling in lower extremities, where it is more likely to clot. Damage to endothelium also makes blood cells more likely to stick to the walls of vessels, increasing the risk of clots. Excessive salt intake is harmful to the cardiovascular system in a variety of ways, with blood clots being one of the more significant risks. Decreasing salt intake and cutting out all canned and processed foods will significantly reduce the risk of blood clots.

Choose Loose Fitting Clothing

Tight jeans and confining clothing may be stylish, but it can inhibit blood flow in ways that are dangerous to those who are at a higher risk of developing blood clots. Loose fitting clothing, on the other hand, allows free movement of fluids in the body. If one's clothing is tight enough, it can compress the veins, which have fragile and pliable walls. Compressed veins give blood a place to pool inside the body, forming a clot. Loose fitting clothing is especially important for those who are immobilized for a long time, as even small restrictions will have ample opportunity to create a significant change in blood flow. Choose loose and light clothes that will allow blood flow freely through the body.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Many people in the United States and other areas of the developed world are carrying a few more pounds than what is considered healthy this puts them at risk for blood clotting. There are several reasons why overweight people are at much higher risk of blood clots the additional fat compresses blood vessels, increasing the risk in much the same way as tight clothing. Obesity causes actual changes in the chemical makeup of blood, increasing inflammation and decreasing blood vessel health. Losing a small or moderate amount of weight will help to reduce the risk of developing blood clots.

Stay Well-Hydrated

For those going on a long flight, planning for surgery, or other actions that put them at risk for blood clotting, drinking plenty of water can reduce the chance of developing subsequent clots . Proper hydration prevents blood clots in a variety of ways it increases fluid in blood vessels, diluting the ratio of blood cells and reducing viscosity, lowering the risk of clotting. Also, additional liquid will wash away irritants in the bloodstream that damage endothelium and blood cells. Blood clotting is a natural response to damage, so washing away toxins can significantly lower one's risk. Choose water over juices and sodas, as these high sugar liquids can lead to dehydration.

Avoid Tobacco

Tobacco in all forms can increase the chance of developing a blood clot this includes cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and other sources of nicotine. Even e-cigarettes, nicotine patches, and nicotine gums can increase this risk. Nicotine heightens activity in the cells that contribute to clotting while slowing the movement of biochemicals in the blood that breaks down clots. Because of this, those who ingest nicotine are not just more likely to develop a blood clot they are also more likely to encounter more significant clots that can be life-threatening. To aid in quitting tobacco, there are many medications available that can reduce cravings and increase chances of success, ultimately lowering one's risk of blood clots.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the best weapons against blood clots. Exercising increases a process known as fibrinolysis, which involves the breaking down of clots. The movement of muscles also improves venous blood return by moving blood out of the lower extremities. Turning ankles in circles and repeatedly squeezing leg muscles are both excellent forms of exercise that can be done anywhere. Walking or jogging also are forms of exercise that will keep blood moving while decreasing the risk of blood clots. Before using exercise to prevent blood clots, one should always ask a doctor or physical therapist for a list of activities that are appropriate for their physical condition and overall health.

Wear Compression Socks

Although most tight clothes will increase the chance of blood clots, wearing compression socks has the opposite effect. Rather than restricting venous return, these garments actively prevent blood from pooling in the lower extremities. With the legs and feet tightly compressed, there is simply no place for blood and fluid to collect. A physician can prescribe compression socks or they can be purchased in a variety of stores. It is essential that they fit correctly, so they compress without compromising blood flow or nervous system activity. It is possible to not only prevent blood clots with compression socks but also reduce muscle aches and general muscle fatigue.

Take A Daily Baby Aspirin

Doctors now recommend a safe and cheap baby aspirin as prevention for a variety of disorders, and blood clots are one such condition. Aspirin reduces the action of platelets, one of the blood cells that contribute to clotting. Platelets are part of the earliest stage of clot formation, collecting and sticking together to form the beginning of a clot. Reducing platelet action significantly reduces clot formation. A low dose of a baby aspirin is safe for most individuals and usually has no side effects. Discuss the possibility of taking baby aspirin with a doctor to learn more about its safety and viability for unique health situations.

Avoid Long Periods Of Immobility

Long periods of immobility are the primary risk factor for developing blood clots. Sometimes this is unavoidable, such as when one is recovering from surgery or in bed with a severe illness. However, there are other times when people must remain seated for long periods without medical necessity. Long flights and extended car trips, for example, increase the risk of blood clots. One can reduce this risk by standing, walking, and stretching their legs periodically throughout their extended rest. When worried about blood clots, getting the blood flowing prevents pooling where clots are then likely to form.

5 Natural Blood Thinning Foods To Reduce Blood Clots And The Risk Of Stroke


Blood circulation is one of the most important bodily functions. Did you know that there are certain foods that we can eat to improve our blood circulation and prevent many heart diseases? Yes, that's right! There are many blood thinning foods that are known to reduce the risk of clotting. But, before we talk about the variety of natural blood thinning foods, it is imperative to understand what blood clotting is and how it affects our body?
Blood clotting is a normal yet complex process which is known to prevent bleeding when there is an injury or a cut in our body. However, there are times when blood clots form in some critical parts of our body like heart, lung or brain, which if not treated in time, can cause serious complications. These clots may occur in the arterial or venous blood vessels. It is when this clot breaks and travels through the blood, it disrupts the flow of blood to important organs such as heart, lungs or brain, and can result in stroke.Here are 5 natural blood thinners to reduce blood clots and the risk of stroke:1. GingerOne of the best ways to add ginger to your diet is to begin your morning with tasty ginger tea. Research says that sipping ginger tea is quite beneficial and may cure many health problems. And, when it comes to blood thinning, ginger is known to reduce inflammation and further relaxes the muscles. Who knew that a single cup of ginger tea can do wonders for your health.

3. SalmonIt is said that foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and trout are one of the best blood thinning foods. It is mainly because omega-3 fatty acids help lower the cholesterol levels in our body. Moreover, they are known to reduce the chances of clotting in the blood.(Also Read: 9 Incredible Benefits of Salmon Fish You May Not Have Known​)

4. Red WineMany experts and nutritionists believe that drinking a glass of red wine every day may help prevent heart diseases, as red wine is known to have properties that help in thinning the blood and further preventing clogged arteries. And, we know how much you fancy drinking red wine, so don't just get carried away and stick to only one glass a day!(Also Read: 5 Types of Wines and the Best Time to Enjoy Them​)

5. CinnamonWe add cinnamon to enhance the taste and fragrance of our dish or drink, especially when added to tea, it tastes bliss. But, did you know that it is a powerful anti-coagulant? Cinnamon is capable of lowering blood pressure and relieving inflammatory conditions. This may reduce the chances of having a stroke. However, long-term consumption of cinnamon may cause liver damage, therefore, make sure you use this spice sparingly.(Also Read: 6 Reasons Why You Should Be Drinking Cinnamon Water Daily)

Other than the natural foods and drinks mentioned above, there are other natural foods like pineapple, ginseng, kelp, olive oil, almonds and more that are known to reduce blood clotting. However, it's important to note that these foods need be taken in moderation. Always speak to your doctor before trying anything that could have an impact on your health.

About Shubham Bhatnagar You can often find Shubham at a small authentic Chinese or Italian restaurant sampling exotic foods and sipping a glass of wine, but he will wolf down a plate of piping hot samosas with equal gusto. However, his love for homemade food trumps all.

Answers and Replies

Veins carry oxygen-poor blood cells back to the heart and lungs to be re-oxygenated, so it is reduced blood flow in the arteries that can cause a drop in sensation in the legs, arms, hands, etc. Arteries contain freshly oxygenated blood and carry it throughout the body. As you mentioned, it is the capillaries that directly provide the nutrients to nerve cells which in turn allows for signal transduction to occur, but it is the arteries that supply the capillaries with fresh blood.

Nerve cells require a continuous flow of nutrients, especially Ca2+ and Na+ ions in order to properly function. As you may recall, nerve signal transduction depends on the nerve cell being able to route a wave of depolarization across the length of the axon. Without the vital nutrients and oxygen that fresh blood supplies, the electrical gradient can't be produced, resulting in no signal being sent to the brain. Your body interprets this lack of signal as numbness. You can try this out on your own by pressing against the large artery on the inside of your upper arm. After a few minutes you'll notice a drop in the sensation of your entire limb, which is due to your nerve cells not having fresh nutrients.

As for veins, blocking a vein will only lower the amount of blood that is being re-oxygenated, but there are hundreds of veins in your body that can compensate for a single vein being blocked, so it is very unlikely that blocking a single vein will have any effect. The only way that vein blockage could cause problem is if it is completely blocked off, resulting in a buildup of oxygen-poor blood not being able to leave a site, at which point numbness will be the least of your worries, and gas gangrene and swelling will become more pressing issues.

Veins carry oxygen-poor blood cells back to the heart and lungs to be re-oxygenated, so it is reduced blood flow in the arteries that can cause a drop in sensation in the legs, arms, hands, etc. Arteries contain freshly oxygenated blood and carry it throughout the body. As you mentioned, it is the capillaries that directly provide the nutrients to nerve cells which in turn allows for signal transduction to occur, but it is the arteries that supply the capillaries with fresh blood.

Nerve cells require a continuous flow of nutrients, especially Ca2+ and Na+ ions in order to properly function. As you may recall, nerve signal transduction depends on the nerve cell being able to route a wave of depolarization across the length of the axon. Without the vital nutrients and oxygen that fresh blood supplies, the electrical gradient can't be produced, resulting in no signal being sent to the brain. Your body interprets this lack of signal as numbness. You can try this out on your own by pressing against the large artery on the inside of your upper arm. After a few minutes you'll notice a drop in the sensation of your entire limb, which is due to your nerve cells not having fresh nutrients.

As for veins, blocking a vein will only lower the amount of blood that is being re-oxygenated, but there are hundreds of veins in your body that can compensate for a single vein being blocked, so it is very unlikely that blocking a single vein will have any effect. The only way that vein blockage could cause problem is if it is completely blocked off, resulting in a buildup of oxygen-poor blood not being able to leave a site, at which point numbness will be the least of your worries, and gas gangrene and swelling will become more pressing issues.

Two major categories here. Vitamin K antagonists (warfarin/Coumadin) or the non-vitamin K anticoagulants like Pradaxa, Xarelto, and Eliquis.

My preference is for Eliquis started immediately for 3 months. This does not require concomitant parenteral anticoagulation (heparin, Lovenox, or similar).

If the clot in the legs is significant enough and the risk of severe pulmonary embolism is high, an IVC filter may be recommended.

Aspirin also has some efficacy in recurrent DVT prevention.

Blood Coagulation

Blood is a fluid connective tissue which is an essential component in the human body. If the body losses this fluid, it may cause life threatening. Through the clotting mechanism, the body defends against loss of blood. In this case, different coagulation factors, vascular mechanisms, thrombocytes, enzymes, prostaglandins and proteins play important role to clot mechanism and finally stop the loss of blood. In the clotting mechanism, the cellular components are thrombocytes, various enzymes, proteins, endothelial cells and ions.

Blood coagulation is also known as thrombogenesis. Blood coagulation or thrombogenesis is a complicated process by which the blood take shape clots to block and afterward rebuild an injury/wound/cut and cut the bleeding. It is a basic piece of hemostasis preventing blood loss from damaged veins. In hemostasis, a damaged vein or blood vessel wall is stopped by a platelets and a fibrin-containing clot to stop the bleeding so that the damage can be refurbished.

Blood coagulation is a complex series of events that requires exacting chemical balances. Thirteen proteins in the blood plasma, called coagulation factors or clotting factors respond in a complex casecade to form fibrin strands which strengthen the platelets plug. The coagulation factors are shown in the following table:

Signs, Symptoms, and Complications - Atrial Fibrillation

You may or may not notice atrial fibrillation. It often occurs with no signs or symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may notice something that occurs only occasionally. Or, your symptoms may be frequent or serious. If you have heart disease that is worsening, you may notice more symptoms of atrial fibrillation. If your atrial fibrillation is undetected or left untreated, serious and even life-threatening complications can arise. They include stroke and heart failure.

The most common symptom of atrial fibrillation is fatigue . Other signs and symptoms include:

Keep track of when and how often your symptoms occur, what you feel, and whether these things change over time. They are all important clues for your doctor.

When it is undetected or untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to serious complications. This is especially significant for African Americans. Even though whites have atrial fibrillation at higher rates, research has found that many of its complications—including stroke, heart disease, and heart failure—are more common among African Americans. Some complications of atrial fibrillation include:

  • Blood clots . With atrial fibrillation, the heart may not be able to pump the blood out properly, causing it to pool and form an abnormal blood clot in the heart. A piece of the clot—a type of embolus —can break off and travel through the blood to different parts of the body, blocking blood flow to the brain, lungs, intestine, spleen, or kidneys. Atrial fibrillation may also increase the risk of venous thromboembolism, which is a blood clot that forms in a vein.
  • Cognitive impairment and dementia. Some studies suggest that impaired cognition, Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia occur more often among people with atrial fibrillation. This may be due to blockages in the blood vessels of the brain or reduced blood flow to the brain.
  • Heart attack. The risk of a heart attack from atrial fibrillation is highest among women and African Americans and especially in the first year after atrial fibrillation is diagnosed.
  • Heart failure. Atrial fibrillation raises your risk of heart failure because the heart is beating fast and unevenly. The heart’s chambers do not fill completely with blood and cannot pump enough blood to the lungs and body. Atrial fibrillation may also make your heart failure symptoms worse.
  • Stroke. If an embolus travels to the brain, it can cause a stroke. For some people, atrial fibrillation has no symptoms, and a stroke is the first sign of the condition. If you have atrial fibrillation, the risk of a stroke is higher if you are a woman. . With atrial fibrillation, there is an increased risk that the heart may suddenly and unexpectedly stop beating if you have another serious heart condition.
    will explain tests and procedures used to detect signs of atrial fibrillation and help rule our other conditions that may mimic atrial fibrillation. will discuss treatment-related complications or side effects.

New aspect of platelet behavior in heart attacks revealed: Clots can sense blood flow

The disease atherosclerosis involves the build up of fatty tissue within arterial walls, creating unstable structures known as plaques. These plaques grow until they burst, rupturing the wall and causing the formation of a blood clot within the artery. These clots also grow until they block blood flow in the case of the coronary artery, this can cause a heart attack.

New research from the University of Pennsylvania has shown that clots forming under arterial-flow conditions have an unexpected ability to sense the surrounding blood moving over it.If the flow stops, the clot senses the decrease in flow and this triggers a contraction similar to that of a muscle. The contraction squeezes out water, making the clot denser.

Better understanding of the clotting dynamics that occur in atherosclerosis, as opposed to the dynamics at play in closing a wound, could lead to more effective drugs for heart-attack prevention.

The research was conducted by graduate student Ryan Muthard and Scott Diamond, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Their work was published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, which is published by the American Heart Association.

"Researchers have known for decades that blood sitting in a test tube will clot and then contract to squeeze out water," Muthard said. "Yet clots observed inside injured mouse blood vessels don't display much contractile activity.We never knew how to reconcile these two studies, until an unexpected observation in the lab."

Using a specially designed microfluidic device, the researchers pulsed fluorescent dye across a clot to investigate how well it blocked bleeding. When they stopped the flow in order to adjust a valve to deliver the dye, the researchers were startled to see that a massive contraction was triggered in the clot. If they delivered the dye without stopping flow, there was no change in the clot properties.

"We think this may be one of the fundamental differences between clots formed inside blood vessels that cause thrombosis and clots formed when blood slowly pools around a leaking blood vessel during a bleeding event," Diamond said. "The flow sensing alters the clot mechanics."

To investigate this alteration, the researchers used an intracellular fluorescent dye that binds to calcium. They found that when the flow stops, the platelets' calcium levels increase and they become activated. By adding drugs that block ADP and thromboxane, chemicals involved in the clotting process, the researchers were able to prevent this platelet calcium mobilization and stop the contraction.

Millions of patients already take drugs that target these chemical pathways: P2Y12 inhibitors, such as Plavix, block ADP signaling in platelets, and aspirin blocks platelets' synthesis of thromboxane. This discovery suggests that these drugs may be interfering with contractile mechanisms that are triggered when ADP and thromboxane become elevated, such as when the flow around the clot decreases or stops.Beyond slowing the growth of clots, these anti-platelet drugs may also be altering the mechanics of the clot by preventing contraction.

"It is an example of 'quorum sensing' by the platelets in the clots," Diamond said. "The platelets are sensing each other and the prevailing environment. This causes them to release ADP and thromboxane, but it is rapidly diluted away by the surrounding blood flow.

"However, when the flow over the clot decreases or stops, the ADP and thromboxane levels rapidly build up, and this drives platelet contraction," Diamond said.

Anxiety Linked To Blood Clots: Fear That Freezes The Blood In Your Veins

"The blood froze in my veins" or "My blood curdled" -- these common figures of speech can be taken literally, according to the latest studies. Indeed, more literally than some of us would like. For it turns out that intense fear and panic attacks can really make our blood clot and increase the risk of thrombosis or heart attack.

Earlier studies showed that stress and anxiety can influence coagulation. However, they were based almost entirely on questionnaire surveys of healthy subjects. In contrast, the Bonn-based research team around Franziska Geiser (from the Clinic and Policlinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy) and Ursula Harbrecht (from the Institute of Experimental Haematology and Transfusion Medicine) have been the first to conduct a very careful examination of coagulation in patients with anxiety disorders.

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time -- fear of failing the math's test, dread of going down into the dark cellar or, in a more general sense, trepidation about what the future holds. But some people are gripped by powerful fears when confronted by quite normal everyday situations. For example, sufferers of agoraphobia frequently have panic attacks when caught up in a crowd.

The symptoms can be dramatic: palpitations, sweating, shaking, blind panic or fainting -- even leading to death. Another anxiety disorder frequently encountered can be described as social phobia. Those affected fear above all situations in which they become the centre of attention in a group. They begin to stutter or turn red. In order not to avoid embarrassment, social phobia sufferers may become recluses, shying away from human contact and staying at home.

The medical researchers in Bonn compared patients who suffer from a severe form of panic disorder or a social phobia with a healthy control group. In order to rule out as far as possible the influence of factors like age and sex, each of the 31 patients with anxiety disorders was matched with a corresponding healthy patient of the same age and sex. The subjects first had to give blood samples and were asked to perform a number of tests on the computer. A second blood sample was then taken. The blood analysis, which measured various coagulation factors, produced a clear result: The group of anxiety patients showed a much more highly activated coagulation system than the healthy control group.

In the coagulation system two mechanisms operate that are indispensable to life and normally work in opposite directions, each counterbalancing the other. On the one hand, coagulation involves a thickening of the blood so that a plug can form and prevent excessive bleeding from damaged vessels. On the other hand, there is "fibrinolysis", a process that keeps the blood fluid and breaks down clots. In the case of the anxiety-disorder patients, however, the researchers observed through close analysis of the blood an activation of coagulation accompanied by an inhibition of fibrinolysis. Yet, apart from the prick for blood sampling, no real injury had occurred. For these types of patients, the coagulation system goes out of balance as the coagulation tendency rises -- possibly with dangerous consequences. In extreme cases the imbalance can lead to blockage of a coronary artery.

The increased coagulation tendency could, says Franziska Geiser, be the "missing link" that explains why anxiety patients have a statistically higher risk of dying from heart disease by a factor of 3 or 4. "Of course, this doesn't mean that every patient with a marked anxiety disorder must now worry about having a heart attack. The coagulation values we measured were always within the physiological scale, which means there is no acute danger," adds the project leader. A real health threat only arises when other risk factors, like smoking and obesity, also come into the equation.

Franziska Geiser also has some good news for people with anxiety disorders. A follow-up study has produced the first evidence that coagulation activation subsides in patients who have completed successful therapy for their condition. In this respect, Dr. Geiser calls for earlier diagnosis of anxiety disorders, pointing out that too much time is wasted before effective psychotherapy is prescribed. "After all, we have programmes to help the population give up smoking or take more exercise. But if we want to reduce the number of heart disorders, it would make sense to improve the way anxiety disorders are diagnosed and treated."

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Bonn. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Does blood clot reduce blood flow? - Biology

Blood clotting processes in the body are natural. The body manufactures a number of components involved in the development of blood clots to begin the clotting process. This is essential to stop bleeding when a blood vessel is injured through blunt force trauma, a cut, or other types of injuries.

The clotting process also initiates repair and healing of such injury.

Blood clots, depending on the severity of the injury, can dissolve on their own. How does this work?

Blood clots formation and dissolving

Blood clots develop from a process that involves a number of blood components including proteins and platelets. This process forms a clot over a blood vessel injury. The same process in reverse has the capability of breaking the clot down.

In scenarios where blood clot is formed, it can dissolve on its own when a protein known as plasmin (a component of the clot itself) is activated by another substance in the body known as an activator. This triggers a process similar to a “self-destruct” button that breaks up the net-like structure of the clot.

Some clotting processes are visible and take place on the outside of the body, such as a cut, scratch, or more specifically, during the formation and dissolving of a scab.

A blood clot that forms inside the blood vessel, and is not necessarily caused by an injury but sluggish blood flow, narrowed arteries, or other factors often associated with poor lifestyle habits, may require man-made interventions such as anticoagulation therapy or drugs known as clot busters.

Blood thinners or anticoagulants are a common resource when it comes to dealing with deep vein thrombosis or DVT, otherwise known as blood clots that develop in the large veins, most commonly the leg. The danger with a DVT is the potential of the blood clot to dislodge from the wall of the artery and travel through the bloodstream until it reaches the lung, resulting in a pulmonary embolism (PE) that cuts off blood supply in the lung. This prevents the lung from oxygenating blood returning to the heart. This scenario is potentially life-threatening.

Drugs known as blood thinners don’t dissolve clots per se, but prevent them from growing larger and also prevent the formation of new blood clots. This allows the body the time to naturally break up the clot on its own.

Clot-busting drugs designed specifically to treat pulmonary embolisms are capable of breaking down the blood clot by instigating the release of plasmid, which like with natural blood clot dissolving scenarios, gives the body a head start in also destroying the pulmonary embolism.

Regaining health

Some blood clots are relatively harmless, while others can be life-threatening. DVTs and pulmonary embolisms are not to be underestimated. It can take weeks for such clots to dissolve and for an individual to recover. With proper medical care however, these blood clots will eventually dissolve, but individuals who have experienced such clots must be aware that they have a potential to return when lifestyle habits such as poor diet, smoking, or immobility are involved.


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