The human body does not handle excessive blood loss well. Therefore, the body has ways of protecting itself. If, for some unexpected reason, sudden blood loss occurs, the blood platelets kick into action.
Platelets are irregularly-shaped, colorless bodies that are present in blood. Their sticky surface lets them, along with other substances, form clots to stop bleeding.
When bleeding from a wound suddenly occurs, the platelets gather at the wound and attempt to block the blood flow. The mineral calcium, vitamin K, and a protein called fibrinogen help the platelets form a clot.
A clot begins to form when the blood is exposed to air. The platelets sense the presence of air and begin to break apart. They react with the fibrinogen to begin forming fibrin, which
resembles tiny threads. The fibrin threads then begin to form a web-like mesh that traps the blood cells within it. This mesh of blood cells hardens as it dries, forming a clot, or "scab."
Calcium and vitamin K must be present in blood to support the formation of clots. If your blood is lacking these nutrients, it will take longer than normal for your blood to clot. If
these nutrients are missing, you could bleed to death. A healthy diet provides most people with enough vitamins and minerals, but vitamin supplements are sometimes needed.
A scab is an external blood clot that we can easily see, but there are also internal blood clots. A bruise, or black-and-blue mark, is the result of a blood clot. Both scabs and bruises
are clots that lead to healing. Some clots can be extremely dangerous. A blood clot that forms inside of a blood vessel can be deadly because it blocks the flow of blood, cutting off
the supply of oxygen. A stroke is the result of a clot in an artery of the brain. Without a steady supply of oxygen, the brain cannot function normally. If the oxygen flow is broken,
paralysis, brain damage, loss of sensory perceptions, or even death may occur.
Hemostasis - prevention of blood loss from broken vessel
1 - Vascular spasm - vasoconstriction of injured vessel due to contraction of smooth muscle in the wall of the vessel. This 'spasm' may reduce blood flow & blood loss but will not stop blood loss.
2 - Formation of a platelet plug - platelets aggregate at the point where a vessel ruptures. This occurs because platelets are exposed to collagen (a protein found in the connective
tissure located just outside the blood vessel). Upon exposure to collagen, platelets release ADP (adenosine diphosphate) & thromboxane. These substances cause the surfaces of
nearby platelets to become sticky and, as 'sticky' platelets accumulate, a 'plug' forms.
3 - Blood coagulation (clotting):
The result of all of this is a clot - formed primarily of fibrin threads (or polymers), but also
including blood cells & platelets.
Blood clots in the right places prevent the loss of blood from ruptured vessels, but in the
wrong place can cause problems such as a stroke (see below under inappropriate clotting).
- "Tightening" of clot
- Contraction of platelets trapped within clot shrinks fibrin meshwork, pulling edges of damaged vessel closer together
Over time (with the amount of time depending on the amount of damage), the clot is dissolved and replaced with normal tissue.
- dissolution of clot
- mechanism = plasminogen (a plasma protein) is activated by many factors & becomes PLASMIN. Plasmin then breaks down fibrin meshwork & phagocytic WBCs remove products of clot dissolution
- thrombus - clot formed in an intact vessel, possibly due to:
- roughened vessel walls (atherosclerosis; see normal & occluded coronary arteries below)
- slow-moving blood (e.g., in varicose veins) = small quantities of fibrin form & accumulate
'Sticky blood', 'Hughes Syndrome' or 'Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome' is a disorder of the clotting cells and the effect is to create inappropriate clotting within blood vessels. This
inappropriate clotting can be extremely dangerous. A blood clot that forms inside of a blood vessel can be deadly because it blocks the flow of blood, cutting off the supply of oxygen.
A stroke is the result of a clot in an artery of the brain. Without a steady supply of oxygen, the brain cannot function normally. If the oxygen flow is broken, paralysis, brain damage,
loss of sensory perceptions, or even death may occur.
Page forms part of www.apls.tk, the information site on ANTIPHOSPHOLIPID SYNDROME (APS or ANTIPHOSPHOLIPID SYNDROME (APLS))
Medical Keywords: systemic antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, Antiphospholipid, Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, APS, APLS, Hughes
Syndrome, Sticky Blood, Clotting Disorder, Stroke, TIA, PE, death, Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, APS, APLS,
Hughes Syndrome, Sticky Blood, Clotting Disorder, Stroke, TIA, PE, death