The blood in your body is perpetually pumping—flowing from organ to organ and giving you life. When blood clots to stop internal or external bleeding, that’s good. However, sometime a dangerous blood clot can develop that stops its flow to vital organs. Blood clots can be a serious threat to your health and your life.
The occurrence of a blood clot can be predictable, but often times a blood clot occurs with no warning and immediate action has to be taken. When a detrimental clot forms, time is of the essence. With three locations throughout the Twin Cities, The Urgency Room offers state-of-the-art equipment and experienced physician care to treat your blood clot without the wait of your average emergency room.
What Is a Blood Clot?
Almost all of us have had a blood clot: a scab. When you get cut, blood coagulates at the surface of your skin and forms a protective clot over your wound. This coagulation of blood stops your bleeding, which is good! The same thing happens inside of your body if a blood vessel starts bleeding.
A blood clot develops in four stages:
- When a blood vessel is damaged, your body triggers platelets (small cells in your blood responsible for clotting) to start sticking to your blood vessel walls and each other around the damaged area. When enough stick to the area and one another, they change shape to form a sort of plug to stop bleeding. While sticking to one another, platelets are releasing chemicals that attract even more platelets and prepare for the next step.
- Next, clotting factors, which are made up of proteins in your blood, signal each other and launch into a rapid chain reaction. The end results of the chain reaction are long strands of fibrin in your blood that make a fibrous net. This net, much like a fishing net, catches and traps even more platelets and cells around the wounded portion of your blood vessel.
- Once the next has captured enough cells and platelets, a signal is sent that tells the body that enough has been sent and the clot is big enough and durable enough as it is. This is an important chemical reaction as it prevents the clot from becoming too big or spreading further.
- Similar to dissolving stitches, the fibrin strands are broken down and eventually dissolve as your wound heals. The collection of platelets and cells that just helped heal your damaged blood vessel are released back into your bloodstream for use.
This entire process is triggered when your flowing blood comes into contact with a specific substance in your skin or blood vessel walls that is present when the skin or vessel is broken and bleeding. The Urgency Room of Eagan, Vadnais Heights or Woodbury is ready for you when you have a blood clot.
What Types of Blood Clots Are Bad?
We just went over what types of clots are normal and safe. They’re your body’s natural way to stop bleeding and keep you healthy. However, there are times blood clots occur and they’re actually dangerous for you.
Bad cholesterol is full of the substance that is released when your blood vessel or skin is bleeding. When waxy cholesterol plaques build up in your arteries, they could potentially burst open. Once the plaques break and the substance is released, the clotting process begins.
This type of clotting doesn’t “plug” any bleeding vessels. Instead it poses a threat in that it could clog blood vessels completely and cause heart attacks or strokes. These detrimental medical emergencies happen when the cholesterol plaque in your heart or brain bursts without notice.
Aside from serious plaque breaking open and kick-starting blood clots, they can also develop from improper blood flow. When your blood doesn’t flow smoothly as it should, it could pool in your vessels or even your heart. When this happens, platelets are more likely to stick together and create clotted barriers within your vessels—preventing smooth blood flow.
When blood moves slowly, you could develop:
Atrial fibrillation: an irregular heartbeat that increases your chance of heart attack or stroke and could require surgery.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): a blood clot in a deep vein that could cause swelling or pain and become life-threatening.
How Can I Prevent Blood Clots?
There are over-the-counter medicines and prescribed blood thinners that either stop platelets from signaling one another to collect or make it hard for your blood to clot. Some of these drugs include:
- Plavix (clopidogrel)
- Xarelto (rivaroxaban)
- Pradaxa (dabigatran)
While these drugs help prevent blood clots if you’re at risk, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is a drug that dissolves pre-existing clots. This drug works well as it dissolves fibrin—the platelet-snagging net. Blood clotting problems can be caused by genetics or even your diet and exercise regimen in the case of built-up cholesterol.
How The Urgency Room Can Treat Blood Clots
From Minneapolis to St. Paul, The Urgency Room’s three locations in Eagan, Vadnais Heights and Woodbury can treat your blood clot conditions in less time than going to the emergency room or waiting for an appointment with your doctor. Being physician-owned and –operated means The Urgency Room is rooted in providing your with the best care right when you need it.
Take a virtual tour of our facilities here. Our highly experienced physicians can treat you in a fraction of the time compared with emergency rooms. In addition to treating you at one of our locations, we can even help you afterward with our extensive library of after-care and at-home care videos. Our care and depth of knowledge is the best in the Twin Cities, so call or stop by today for treatment of blood clots and more.