Blood clotting is typically a normal process that occurs in the body following any damage or injury to a blood vessel. In such cases, the body is perfectly capable of forming a mesh-like substance – known as a blood clot – to deal with the situation. The body forms and dissolves the clot on its own.
However, abnormal blood clotting processes are also potential risks for children and adults. With normal body function and blood flow, the blood is thin and flows through all vessels swiftly and smoothly. Sluggish or interrupted blood flow however, contributes to an increased risk of blood clot development. Blood clotting issues are caused by a variety of conditions, and as such, may also affect children.
Blood clots caused by many different factors
The development of blood clots, or abnormal blood clotting issues are just as prevalent in children as in adults. Some common reasons for blood clot development include:
- sudden traumatic injury
- certain medications
- limited mobility of a body part
What causes a blood clot?
Any slowing down of the blood flow in any vessel creates a potential for the pooling of blood, and of clots forming.
Children, as well as adults are at risk for developing blood clots. According to research conducted by Hopkins, blood clots in children affect roughly 1 in 10,000 children, independently of hospitalization. Approximately 1 in 200 children who are hospitalized begin to develop blood clots. Why? The same reason as adults: long-term bed rest, immobility, contributing medical factors, or certain medications.
So what can you do to prevent blood clots in children? Again, the same advice applied to adults.
How to prevent blood clots in children?
Blood clot formation may be preventable in most children by ensuring:
- Adequate hydration
- Keeping children active, indoors or outdoors
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Balanced diet and nutrition
- Exercise, exercise, exercise
If a child becomes hospitalized with limited mobility or function, care planning must include hydration, as much mobility as possible, and potentially anti-clotting medications such as heparin or Coumadin. Alternative preventative measures may include compression stockings, sleeves or boots or other state of the art preventative measures established by the physician.
Education of parents about the risks of blood clots is essential, as is education of teachers and child care providers. Such knowledge may greatly reduce the risk of development of blood clot formation.
As with any other medical situation, notify your healthcare provider with any changes in your child’s activity or behaviors, or complaints about pain in the lower extremities, which are indications of blood clot formation in the calves. Early notification and examination are also important in reducing the severity and long term affects if a blood clot presents itself.