In the United States, 100,000 people die due to blood clots annually. In addition to that, 900,000 people end up dealing with venous thromboembolism every year. These numbers are so high because these blood clots are not caught in time to get taken care of before it becomes a serious problem.
Continue reading to learn more about clotting disorders and blood coagulation tests.
What Are Clotting Disorders?
The body has a natural blood clotting process known as hemostasis. The body forces the injured blood vessel to constrict, and then platelets are sent to the injury site. They attach to the wound, and coagulation occurs.
In clotting disorders, excessive clotting takes place. This is also known as a hypercoagulable state. This allows large blood clots to form where they shouldn't: in the bloodstream. These blood clots make their way to the legs (venous thromboembolism), the lungs (pulmonary embolism), and even the arteries of the heart (arterial thrombosis), and they block off blood vessels.
Clotting Disorders Causes
In some cases, it is acquired via underlying health conditions. These conditions might include:
- Prolonged immobilization or bed rest
- Autoimmune disorders (like Lupus)
- Cancer or malignant tumor growth
- Catheter use
- Pregnancy or childbirth
- Medical drug use (Hormone Replacement Therapy, oral contraceptives, or Heparin)
- Cholesterol or calcium buildup in the bloodstream
- Blood vessel inflammation
- Heart failure
It can also be an inherited health condition through genetic mutations, such as:
- Factor V Leiden mutation
- Prothrombin 20210 mutation
- MTHFR mutation
It can be an inherited health condition due to:
- Protein C and S
- Elevated Factor VII levels
Catching these blood clots early makes all of the difference between life or death in these patients. Knowing the signs can help in diagnosing these blood clots in time to seek treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of Clotting Disorders
The different signs and symptoms of blood clotting disorders depend on the location of the blood clot. If the clot is in the leg, the symptoms include:
- Leg pain or tenderness
- Edema or swelling
- Discoloration in the leg
If the clot is in the lung, the symptoms might include:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Irregular heartbeat
- Fainting or lightheadedness
In other areas of the body, blood clot symptoms may mimic a heart attack or a stroke. If you find that you have any of these symptoms, you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible.
There are certain tests that you can do to check for clotting disorders, so it's a good idea to be proactive if you notice you may have any of the risk factors associated with blood clotting disorders or you have any of the symptoms.
Clotting Disorder FAQs
Should those with clotting disorders see a specialist? Your primary care physician can care for clotting disorders. However, when you have an active blood clot, you should make sure to see your hematologist to get it taken care of.
If you are diagnosed with a clotting disorder, should your family members also get tested? Some of these conditions can be genetic. It is always a good idea for your family members to be tested for this disorder.
Who can have a blood clotting disorder? Men and women alike can have a clotting disorder. People of any age can develop a clotting disorder. They are more commonly diagnosed, however, among older teens and adults as they go through the normal changes in their blood.
Why Order Blood Coagulation Tests?
Blood coagulation tests are essential in finding possible blood clots throughout your body as a result of a clotting disorder. The tests that check for blood clotting include:
- Prothrombin Time (PT)
- Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT)
The Prothrombin Time (PT) test monitors how fast the blood clots. The Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT) test monitors how long it takes for the blood to clot.
At Ulta Lab Tests, we also offer a:
- Complete Blood Count test
- Fibrinogen level test
The Complete Blood Count test will look for signs of anemia or a low platelet count, which can cause abnormal blood clotting. The Fibrinogen test monitors your fibrinogen level (a protein found in the liver). It looks for abnormalities that point to excessive bleeding problems.
A phlebotomist performs these tests: they are not at-home test kits! We offer these tests at affordable pricing, and you don't need a referral or insurance to get this testing done. These tests also come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Tests Needed to Confirm Low Platelet Counts
A low platelet count can be diagnosed, evaluated, and monitored through various blood tests. None of these tests can identify the cause of the low platelet count, but they can be used to identify the right treatment. These include the following:
- Complete Blood Count – It is used to check the current platelet count and to identify if the bleeding has caused anemia (low hemoglobin levels).
- Platelet Count – Checks the number of platelets in the blood, and it is part of the CBC test.
- Blood Smear – It is done using a microscope to check the blood cells, including platelets.
- Prothrombin Time and Partial Thromboplastin Time – It is used to check the clotting factors for proper clotting.
- Basic Metabolic Panel or Comprehensive Metabolic Panel – Checks the overall health of your kidneys, liver, and other organs in your body.
- Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy – Checks cell production in the bone marrow if you have a low platelet count.
- Heparin-induced Thrombocytopenia – Checks the antibodies against heparin and diagnoses thrombocytopenia. You can get this test if you have undergone or are currently undergoing heparin therapy.
- Antiphospholipid Antibodies – Used to diagnose an existing autoimmune disease such as antiphospholipid syndrome as the cause of the low platelet count or its association with your platelets.
- Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) – Used to diagnose an underlying autoimmune disease such as Lupus and its association or cause of low platelets.
- Vitamin B12 And Folate – Any deficiencies in these vitamins cause a low platelet count, anemia, and a low white blood cell count (known as leukopenia).
- Hepatitis B, C, and HIV – These are viral infections often associated with low platelets. If you have a low platelet count and test positive for these infections, they are the cause of the low platelet count.
Get Started Today!
If you are showing signs of a blood clot, it's important to talk to a health professional immediately. If you are worried that you might have a blood clotting disorder, blood clotting tests are available for purchase through our website. Once you have the results, you can go over them with your doctor and go from there.
Order your blood coagulation tests today, and you will get your results in 24 to 48 hours. A secure and confidential online server then sends results.