What Triggers Excessive Blood Clotting in the Heart and Brain?

by Aug 4, 2022Cardiovascular0 comments

Your body creates blood clots, which is a thicker mass of blood tissue, to help stop the bleeding when you acquire a cut or a wound. These clots consist of blood proteins called fibrin and platelets.

Blood clotting, also known as coagulation, decreases blood loss, which benefits the body after an injury.

Generally, the body disintegrates and eliminates the clots once the bleeding has ceased and healing has taken place.

However, occasionally, blood clots develop too quickly or fail to disintegrate completely, causing the clots to move through the body and restricting or blocking blood flow.

Hypercoagulation, commonly known as excessive blood clotting, is severely dangerous. This condition can cause clots to develop in or move to the arteries and veins of the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, and extremities, which can cause heart attacks, organ damage, strokes, and even death.

Various medications, diseases, and genetic alterations may induce hypercoagulation. Experts divide these factors into two groups: acquired and hereditary.

  • Acquired: This excessive blood clotting has resulted from other disorders or conditions.

The following list includes some triggers of acquired hypercoagulation:

  • Use of hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills
    • Extended bed rest, or plane or car trips
    • Cancer
    • Pregnancy
    • Smoking

Another condition that may adversely affect blood clotting is obesity. For example, a 2015 study showed that obese individuals with trauma are more prone to hypercoagulation compared to their normal-weight counterparts.

Consequently, overcoming obesity may help reduce the risk of excessive blood clotting. Weight-loss procedures such as bariatric surgery may help address this problem.

  • Genetic: This hereditary type of excessive blood clotting is less frequent and is typically due to genetic defects. These abnormalities generally occur in the proteins required for blood clotting.

Moreover, genetic issues can also affect the compounds that dissolve or delay blood clots.

Factors That May Trigger Hypercoagulation

Many conditions and diseases may lead to excessive blood clotting. Some illnesses can increase the likelihood of clot formation in particular parts of the body.

The following list includes possible triggers of hypercoagulation in the heart and brain:

  • Vasculitis: This condition can cause inflammation in the body’s blood vessels. Platelets can form clots by sticking to damaged blood vessels.
  • Atherosclerosis: This ailment occurs when a waxy material known as plaque accumulates inside your arteries. The plaque may rupture over time.  

Platelets also congregate to form clots at the site of the injury.

  • Heart failure: A heart failure occurs when there is damage or weakening of the heart. When the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, blood flow slows, leading to the formation of clots.
  • Diabetes: This ailment increases the likelihood of plaque buildup in the arteries, leading to dangerous blood clots.

Moreover, approximately 80% of people with diabetes have the potential of dying from clot-related causes.

  • Atrial fibrillation: This condition is the most common type of arrhythmia, also known as irregular heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation can cause the blood to pool in the heart’s upper chambers, which can form clots.
  • Metabolic syndrome: This syndrome refers to a set of risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease and other health problems, including a greater risk of blood clot formation.

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Other Factors

Below are additional factors that result in excessive blood clotting:

  • Smoking: This habit increases the risk of blood clots and makes platelets more likely to stick together. Smoking also causes damage to blood vessels’ linings, which can result in clot formation.
  • Pregnancy: Due to increased platelets and clotting factors, pregnant women are more likely to develop blood clots. The uterus can also compress the veins, slowing blood flow and increasing the risk of blood clots.
  • Use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy: These medications can slow blood flow and cause clot formation.
  • Cancer: Several types of cancer increase the proteins that clot the blood.
  • Dehydration: This situation occurs when your body does not have enough fluids. Lack of fluids can cause blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, increasing the likelihood of blood clots.

If you have experienced any of the conditions above you may have a higher risk of developing hypercoagulation.

Tracking your health, especially in areas related to your blood measurements such as your blood oxygen level, may help prevent complications, which can lead to hypercoagulation.

When to Consult a Doctor

Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficult or painful breathing
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Cough that shows bloody sputum
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Pain extending to your arm, back, shoulder, or jaw
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of your arm, face, or leg

Furthermore, it is important to consult a physician if you develop the following symptoms or signs on your arm or leg:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain


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