A disease is an illness that affects the body and/or mind within a single organism. Basically when a person is in a diseased state, they are no longer classified by modern and traditional medical diagnosis as “healthy”. Clotting diseases are defined as a group of conditions in which there is an increased tendency, often repeated and over an extended period of time, for excessive clotting.
Occurrence of clotting disease is called thrombosis. The vascular system includes both the venous system (the veins that deliver blood from the tissues to the heart) and the arterial system (the system that delivers blood from the heart to the tissues). Clotting diseases may occur in either system. The symptoms relate to the part of the vascular system in which they occur, the extent of the clot and whether the clot breaks off and travels to another part of the body (e.g., the lungs i.e. pulmonary embolus; the brain i.e. embolic stroke, etc.).
There are different terms used to further define the clotting diseases, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or peripheral vascular disease, when the clots are in the arterial system. Although we are now able to determine the underlying cause in some patients and families for this tendency to an increased risk of excessive blood clotting, we are still not able to make this determination in all cases. This means that there is still more to be understood about why some persons and families have clotting diseases. Even though men and women can have clotting diseases, these conditions pose added difficulties for women because of their relationship to reproductive issues. Women with these disorders can develop serious complications during pregnancy leading to miscarriage. Pregnancy, oral contraceptives and post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy are all triggering events for DVT in women with thrombophilia.
Depending upon their location, blood clots may be aggressively treated or may need nothing more than symptomatic care. Venous clotting diseases in the leg may occur in the superficial or deep systems of veins
Deep venous clotting diseases usually require anticoagulation to prevent the clot from growing and causing a pulmonary embolus. Initial therapy with injectable enoxaparin (Lovenox) is used to immediately "thin" the blood. Meanwhile, warfarin (Coumadin) is prescribed as an anti-coagulation pill. Blood clots below the knee are at lower risk for embolization to the lung, and an alternative to anti-coagulation treatment is serial ultrasound examinations to monitor the clot to see if it is growing or being resorbed by the body. Short-term treatments of clotting diseases may include treatment with antithrombin factor and protein C. Antithrombin factor may be helpful for people who have known antithrombin deficiencies. This treatment is used in special situations, such as before surgery if there's a very serious blood clot or repeat blood clots. Arterial clotting diseases are often managed more aggressively. Surgery may be attempted to remove the clot, or medication may be administered directly into the clot to try to dissolve it.
The preceding information in this article is provided as an overview of how to deal with clotting diseases, occurring with deficient inhibitors or abundant clotting factors. Those who may have one of these conditions are encouraged to speak with their doctor for more information.
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