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Having thick blood (hypercoagulability) will increase your risk of developing blood clots spontaneously. Without proper treatment, abnormal blood clots can block blood flow and interfere with various organ functions
Blood clotting is actually the body's natural response to stop bleeding and heal wounds. However, if they occur abnormally, blood clots can cause various he alth problems, such as pulmonary embolism, heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, and kidney disorders.
Causes of thick blood
The process of blood clotting involves platelets and special proteins called blood clotting factors. Under normal conditions, this blood clotting occurs when the body is injured. Once the wound healing is complete, these blood clots will disappear.
However, in the condition of thick blood, these blood clots can occur, even though the body is not injured. There are various things that can cause a person to be more at risk of developing thick blood, including:
- The hereditary factor
- Consumption of certain drugs, such as hormonal drugs, birth control pills, tamoxifen, and heparin
- The presence of cholesterol clots in the blood vessels due to high cholesterol levels in the blood
- Have certain diseases, such as cirrhosis, cancer, diabetes, inflammation of the blood vessels or vasculitis, heart disease, sepsis, and autoimmune disorders
- Experienced an injury, for example a broken bone in the leg
- Having unhe althy living habits, such as smoking and rarely exercising
Besides the things above, there are also several other factors that can increase the risk of blood clots, such as having to lie down for a long time after surgery, old age, and pregnancy.
If it causes a blockage in the blood flow, thick blood that is prone to clotting can cause further he alth problems. Therefore, this condition needs to be detected early and treated as soon as possible.
Symptoms of thick blood to watch out for
Thick blood itself usually does not cause symptoms. Symptoms will appear when the blood has clotted and blocked blood flow. Symptoms that can occur when blood has clotted also vary, depending on the location of the clot in the body.
The following are symptoms that can appear based on the location of the blood clot:
1. Arm or leg
If lumps occur in the arms or legs, symptoms can include swelling, pain, skin discoloration, and a warm or tingling sensation in certain limbs.
2. Heart and lungs
Thick blood that causes blood clots in the heart can cause heart disease. Symptoms can include severe chest pain that radiates to the arms or neck, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, dizziness, and fainting.
While thick blood in the lungs can cause symptoms in the form of chest pain, coughing, sweating, shortness of breath or heavy breathing, dizziness, fainting, and fast pulse.
3. Digestive tract
If clots occur in the digestive tract, symptoms that can appear are severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, and blood mixed in the stool or vomit.
If clots occur in the kidneys, symptoms can include fever, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, blood in the urine, pain in the waist or back, and swelling in the legs.
Thick blood that causes blood clots in the brain can cause blood flow to the brain to be disrupted. This can cause stroke symptoms, such as weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, dizziness, confusion, headaches, difficulty swallowing or speaking, and even seizures.
If you experience any of the symptoms above, see a doctor immediately so that the problems caused by thick blood can be checked and treated appropriately.
How to Prevent Blood Clots
Considering the many disorders that can occur due to thick blood, it would be better if you take precautions early on. Based on the risk factors, there are several ways that can be applied to prevent thick blood from clotting, including:
1. Avoid sitting for long periods
Being in the same position (especially sitting or lying down) for a long time can cause blood to clot.
These blood clots will usually form in the legs, then spread to other organs and cause blockage of blood vessels in these organs. To avoid this, move around or stretch every one to two hours.
2. Drink enough water
Dehydration can make blood vessels narrow and blood thicken, thereby increasing the risk of blood clots. Therefore, make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water or about 2 liters every day.
3. Live a he althy lifestyle
By changing your lifestyle to be he althier, such as eating he althy foods, maintaining a he althy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding cigarette smoke, not consuming alcoholic beverages, and having regular he alth check-ups with your doctor, you are at risk of developing blood clots due to blood clots. thick can be prevented.
In addition, to prevent thick blood from clotting, you are also advised to eat foods containing omega-3, fruits, vegetables, and foods containing vitamin E.
4. Consumption of certain drugs
If needed, the doctor can advise you to take blood thinners. Usually, these drugs are prescribed by your doctor if you are at risk for blood clots that can cause organ damage, such as heart disease and stroke.
This drug may also be given to people who have recently undergone surgery or pregnant women who are at risk of developing blood clots.
5. Wear compression stockings
In addition to medication, the doctor may also advise you to use a special sto c king to improve blood flow in the legs. This S to c king usually needs to be used by people who are hospitalized for a long time, traveling by airplane for a long time, or pregnant women.
People who have a history of diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins will also usually be advised by doctors to use these stockings.
If you are at risk for thick blood, do a he alth check or check up regularly to the doctor. To assess your he alth condition, the doctor will perform a physical and supporting examination, such as a blood test.
If the results show that you have or are at risk for thick blood, the doctor will determine the appropriate treatment and prevention methods, as well as recommend a he althy lifestyle.