Blood clots are a normal response of the body to tissue injury since blood clots prevent further bleeding in case the blood vessels were severed. The development of blood clots is an important mechanism of the body to restore the integrity of the circulatory system.
Despite the benefits of blood clots, they become dangerous when they form inappropriately. Harmful blood clots may impair the normal circulation leading to hypoxia or even death of the cells. The most common harmful effects of blood clotting are cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders such as heart attacks, stork and peripheral vascular diseases. It may also lead to pulmonary affectation because of significant impairment in the blood flow in the lung vessels.
Blood clots may take two forms-a thrombus or an embolus. Thrombi are blood clots that stay attached to the blood vessels. Once they are dislodged, they may travel to the rest of the body known as embolus.
In order to avoid harmful blood clots, it is essential to know the causes and remedies for blood clots. Knowing the causes may help us avoid harmful blood clots. The various causes of blood clots include:
• Heart contractility problems
When the heart does not contract effectively, it may cause small clots to form along the coronary arteries. Most often, those who have other cardiac conditions have increased risk for heart attacks or myocardial infarction because of the development of small blood clots overtime.
• Prolonged sitting or immobility
Those who work in sitting position for a prolonged period may also develop blood clots. This is due to the stasis of blood in the veins that may eventually cause blood clots as the blood becomes sluggish or static in a given area in the body. Prolonged sitting specifically may lead to dangerous blood clots in the lower extremities leading to deep vein thrombosis or thrombophlebitis. Immobility due to surgery or being bed-ridden causes similar effects to the body.
Pregnant women have increased risk for developing harmful blood clots because of the increased fibrin component of the blood. Fibrin is responsible for developing clots and keeping them intact.
Smoking is another cause of harmful blood clots. Smoking causes constriction of the blood vessels, which may lead to increased blood pressure over time. As a result, there may be injury to the blood vessel walls due to increased blood pressure leading to formation of blood clots. Smokers, in fact, has a doubled risk for heart diseases and stroke compared to non-smokers because of these mechanisms.
• Hormone therapy
Intake of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy is also a cause of blood clots. The estrogen component of these therapies increases the likelihood for blood clot formation.
• High blood pressure
As discussed in smoking, an increase in the blood pressure overtime may lead to the formation of blood clots because of injury to the blood vessel walls.
• High cholesterol levels
High cholesterol levels may bring about plaque formation leading to atherosclerosis. Plaques normally lead to blood clot formation around the walls where plaques are formed.
Diabetes is also a cause for thrombus and embolus formation because of the sluggish flow of blood due to increased blood sugar levels.
In order to prevent or manage blood clots, there are various remedies that can be used. These foods or ingredients, when taken in, help dissolve harmful blood clots in the body as well as prevent formation of thrombus or embolus. These include:
• Mustard and canola oil
• Beans and sprouts
• Orange juice
• Skimmed milk
• Vitamin C
You may also prevent harmful blood clot formation by:
• Maintaining an active lifestyle to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
• Avoiding sitting for prolonged periods. You may take a break from sitting through walking around the office every hour.
• Engaging in appropriate exercise during pregnancy.
• Quitting smoking.
• Managing high blood pressure effectively by consulting a health provider.
• Maintaining an ideal body weight.
It is also essential to maintain proper diet along with proper exercise to prevent harmful blood clots that may lead to life-threatening conditions.