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What is Coagulation?

11/7/2013 8:25:58 AM | by Anonymous

Coagulants

Coagulation is the process of the body producing various substances to form blood clots to prevent further bleeding to a wound. Coagulation is simply the process of blood clotting and it is very important. However, some people are unable to accomplish this simple and crucial function. Such as those people with hemophilia. In such cases, coagulants are used to help. On the other hand, there are cases whereby coagulation may harm people. For example, an illness such as stroke is caused by over coagulation. In such cases anti coagulants are used to help the blood flow normally again.


Natural coagulation occurs when the body senses that there is some sort of injury in the blood vessels. The first step that occurs in the coagulation process is known as constriction. Constriction is when the damaged part of the blood vessel shrinks. This causes the blood flow to slow down and thus less bleeding occurs. The next step of the coagulation of process is when the body sends out platelets to form a platelet plug which gathers at the injured location. Platelets are essentially protein and there are over 20 types of proteins in platelets. These platelets form to prevent blood from bleeding out from the body, this keeps the blood clotted. Apart from platelets, something called the fibrin mesh is also sent to the injured blood vessel. This fibrin mesh is like a reinforcement on top of the platelets to strengthen the blood clot.


As the wound starts to heal, the fibrin mesh actually improves and gets stronger until the wound has completely healed. They make up most of the scabs along with platelets and blood. The blood clotting proteins also helps by interacting with the atmosphere to harden the scab, prevent further injury and other foreign objects from infecting the wound by coming into contact with it. The coagulation process ends when the wound has healed completely and the scab that was protecting the wound will fall off naturally. Some people tend to pick the scab off when the wound has not healed completely, this will cause the coagulation process to restart itself. If the scab is constantly picked then a scar will inevitably form.


However, there are also times where coagulation may be harmful. For example, if too many platelets or proteins are being produced then the blood will clot even though there is no injury. This is when stroke occurs, as the blood vessels shrink, blood is unable to flow though. When the blood pressure becomes too high the blood vessel may burst. This is when anti coagulants are given to the patient to help reduce the chances of unwanted coagulation or at least slow down the process when the doctors are operating on them.

On the other hand, there are also people who lack the production of sufficient platelets and proteins to finish the coagulation process. This means that even if there is a minor injury, the patient may suffer a great loss of blood. When someone does not have sufficient platelets, this person is diagnosed with thrombocytopenia. This commonly occurs when the patient has cancer. Too many anti coagulants may also cause this problem.


Apart from feeding patients with coagulants and anti coagulants, anti coagulants are sometimes added to blood bags. This helps prevent the blood from clotting while it is being transported or kept. This is because thick blood is hard to work with and may lose its functionality.


Both coagulants and anti coagulants have their own risks. Coagulants may cause unwanted clotting of the blood whereas anti coagulants may cause too much bleeding. Thus, medical professionals have to properly assess the situation before giving out the drugs.

 

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