Blood Clot

Blood:  A tissue.   Blood consists
of various formed elements, or blood cells, suspended in a fluid called
plasma.  Blood transports gases, nutrients, metabolic wastes, blood
cells, immune cells, and hormones throughout the body.  The blood,
which is confined to the vascular system, constantly interacts with the
body’s extracellular fluid for exchange and transfer.

Formed elements in the blood include red blood cells (erythrocytes/RBC),
platelets, and white blood cells (leukocytes/WBC).  RBCs and platelets
function entirely within blood vessels; WBCs act mainly in the tissues
outside the blood vessels.

Clot:  a semisolidified mass of coagulum, as of blood

How blood clots:  A 3 part process, the circulatory system
protects itself from excessive blood loss. In this process, vascular injury
activates a complex chain of events – vasoconstriction, platelet
and coagulation – that leads
to clotting.
  This stops bleeding without hindering blood
flow through the injured vessels.

Blood flows freely through arteries and capillaries.  Clotting
is a good thing, even vital, when a blood vessels is injured, at the first
sign of injury or trauma, blood thickens (or clots), and stanches its own
flow at the site of the wound.  Clot formation inside healthy blood
vessels is abnormal and may be life-threatening.  Such clots are complications
of heart disease or venous diseases.

A clot that forms in the heart or a blood vessel and remains there is
called a thrombus.  Tiny thrombi (plural of thrombus) develop on blood
vessel walls to heal minute injuries, then it normally dissolve. 
If they don’t dissolve, they not only slow circulation but can also break
loose or break apart and flow with the blood.  A clot that travels
and then becomes lodged at some point in a blood vessels is called an embolus. 
Emboli are potentially more dangerous but are less common than thrombi.

Complications posed by an abnormal blood clot depends on the size and
its location.  Blood clots in the arteries supplying the heart (coronary
arteries) are the major cause of heart attack.  An obstructive clot
in a cerebral artery, can cause stroke.  Blood clots in arteries of
the eye can lead to loss of vision.  An embolus in the lungs that
blocks a pulmonary artery can cause severe shortness of breath, and possible


Blood clots normally produce no obvious symptoms.

Signs and complications from abnormal clots:

Sudden and isolated pain in an leg or arm;  sometimes followed
by skin discoloration, tingling, numbness, or a feeling of ‘cold’ just
below the site of pain – may suggests a large blood clot circulation may
be blocked and if left untreated, gangrene (tissue death) could result.

Phlebitis:  (inflammation of a vein) – inflame the walls of blood

vessels and promote abnormal clots -Skin tenderness, redness, may have
slight edema, may develop a red streak.

A hard, bluish lump in a vein may be caused by a large blood clot.

A sudden complete or partial blindness in one eye may be due to a blood
clot blocking a retinal artery.

Dizziness or vertigo, that impairs a patients ability to stand or walk
may be caused by a small blood clot blocking a cerebral artery.


Doctor may prescribed drug therapy to reduce the risk of abnormal clotting.
Such as:  aspirin for patients who are at risk for embolisms or thrombosis.  
Other anticoagulants includes:  dicumarol, heparin, and warfarin sodium
for more severe cases.

*Use all medication as prescribed by your doctor