Blood clotting processes in the body are natural. The body manufactures a number of components involved in the development of blood clots to begin the clotting process. This is essential to stop bleeding when a blood vessel is injured through blunt force trauma, a cut, or other types of injuries.
The clotting process also initiates repair and healing of such injury.
Blood clots, depending on the severity of the injury, can dissolve on their own. How does this work?
Blood clots formation and dissolving
Blood clots develop from a process that involves a number of blood components including proteins and platelets. This process forms a clot over a blood vessel injury. The same process in reverse has the capability of breaking the clot down.
In scenarios where blood clot is formed, it can dissolve on its own when a protein known as plasmin (a component of the clot itself) is activated by another substance in the body known as an activator. This triggers a process similar to a “self-destruct” button that breaks up the net-like structure of the clot.
Some clotting processes are visible and take place on the outside of the body, such as a cut, scratch, or more specifically, during the formation and dissolving of a scab.
A blood clot that forms inside the blood vessel, and is not necessarily caused by an injury but sluggish blood flow, narrowed arteries, or other factors often associated with poor lifestyle habits, may require man-made interventions such as anticoagulation therapy or drugs known as clot busters.
Blood thinners or anticoagulants are a common resource when it comes to dealing with deep vein thrombosis or DVT, otherwise known as blood clots that develop in the large veins, most commonly the leg. The danger with a DVT is the potential of the blood clot to dislodge from the wall of the artery and travel through the bloodstream until it reaches the lung, resulting in a pulmonary embolism (PE) that cuts off blood supply in the lung. This prevents the lung from oxygenating blood returning to the heart. This scenario is potentially life-threatening.
Drugs known as blood thinners don’t dissolve clots per se, but prevent them from growing larger and also prevent the formation of new blood clots. This allows the body the time to naturally break up the clot on its own.
Clot-busting drugs designed specifically to treat pulmonary embolisms are capable of breaking down the blood clot by instigating the release of plasmid, which like with natural blood clot dissolving scenarios, gives the body a head start in also destroying the pulmonary embolism.
Some blood clots are relatively harmless, while others can be life-threatening. DVTs and pulmonary embolisms are not to be underestimated. It can take weeks for such clots to dissolve and for an individual to recover. With proper medical care however, these blood clots will eventually dissolve, but individuals who have experienced such clots must be aware that they have a potential to return when lifestyle habits such as poor diet, smoking, or immobility are involved.