Blood Clots: Good or Bad?
When you cut your finger with a knife while cutting an onion, and blood is beginning to flow, slowly at the first and rapidly afterward. You clean the site and apply pressure. Soon the bleeding stops and you apply a bandage. Whether you realize or not but a clot has formed. Blood clotting is preventing the blood from flowing. Blood clotting is a natural process without it; you can be at a great risk of bleeding to death from a simple cut.
Blood clots are healthy and lifesaving when they stop bleeding. But they can also form when they aren’t needed and cause heart attack, stroke or other serious medical problems. They are bad if they form in the places like arteries that supply blood to the heart or the brain, or in the veins of the legs. Clots inside the body can also be mobile, traveling through the bloodstream from one place to another. For instance, a clot formed in the leg can travel to lungs and one rising in the heart can end up in the brain. Such silent migration can have very deadly consequences. That is the reason many individual take medication to inhibit clotting.
Clotting is a three-part process
- Platelets in the blood come to the place where bleeding is happening, and stitch to the damaged vessels and clump together to form a plug.
- Proteins known as the clotting factor signal each other and a long strand of fibrin is produced, this results in the net like mesh that reinforces the plug made by clumped platelets.
- When the danger has passed another chain reaction stops the growth and eventually dissolves the clot.
The process of clotting seems to be very efficient and working when you go for a tooth extraction. Follow your dentist’s instruction; you will have a tough clot covering the hole from where the tooth extraction is done. The problem comes only when you have atherosclerosis, with a fat-laden plaque in many locations in your arteries.
A clot can travel through the bloodstream and if it’s large enough it completely blocks the blood vessel. Hence person who has atherosclerosis are often prescribed with antiplatelet medication such as aspirin to inhibit the nature of platelets to clump together. The effect of a blood clot in the cardiovascular system can come very quickly, causing immediate medical attention required.