Coagulopathy is also known as bleeding disorder and it represents a condition in which the blood fails to coagulate. This condition can cause excessive bleeding, also known as bleeding diathesis. The excessive bleeding may occur as a consequence of an injury or medical and dental procedures.
What Can Cause Coagulopathy?
Coagulopathy appears when the blood is not able to clot properly. In order to clot the blood, your body needs blood proteins. These proteins are also known as clotting factors and the blood cells are called platelets. Whenever a blood vessel gets damaged or injured, the platelets clump together to form a plug. Then the clotting factors come together and form a fibrin clot. This keeps the platelets in place and prevents blood from flowing out of the blood vessel.
When a person is dealing with bleeding disorders or coagulopathy, the clotting factors do not work properly. In this case, the blood does not clot and excessive bleeding appears. It can also lead to spontaneous or sudden bleeding in your muscles, joints, or other parts of your body.
Coagulopathy is inherited in most of the cases. There are though some bleeding disorders that may develop as a result of other medical conditions, such as liver disease.
Bleeding disorders may also be caused by:
- a low red blood cell count
- a vitamin K deficiency
- side effects from certain medications
Medications that can interfere with the clotting of the blood are called anticoagulants.
Types of Bleeding Disorders
The most common bleeding disorders are the following:
- Hemophilia A and B appear when there are low levels of clotting factors in your blood. It causes heavy or unusual bleeding into the joints. Though hemophilia is rare, it can have life-threatening complications.
- Factor II, V, VII, X, or XII deficiencies are bleeding disorders related to blood clotting problems or abnormal bleeding problems.
- von Willebrand’s disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder. It develops when the blood lacks von Willebrand factor, which helps the blood to clot.
What Are the Symptoms of Coagulopathy?
The most common symptoms that a person with coagulopathy has, are the following:
- unexplained and easy bruising
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- frequent nosebleeds
- excessive bleeding from small cuts or an injury
- bleeding into joints
When you notice any of the symptoms above, you should call your doctor as soon as possible. He will be able to diagnose your condition and help you prevent complications.
How Is Coagulopathy Diagnosed?
Whenever a doctor will examine your symptoms, he will first ask you about your medical history. This is why, during the appointment you should mention if you are dealing with any of the following situation:
- any medical conditions you currently have
- any medications or supplements you may be taking
- any recent falls or trauma
- how often you experience the bleeding
- how long the bleeding lasts
- what you were doing before the bleeding began
As soon as your doctor will understand your medical history, he will run several blood tests in order to establish the exact diagnosis:
- a complete blood count (CBC), which will help him to measure the amount of red and white blood cells in your body
- a platelet aggregation test, which checks how well your platelets clump together
- a bleeding time, which determines how quickly your blood clots to prevent bleeding
How Can You Treat Coagulopathy?
The usual treatments for coagulopathy are the following:
- Iron Supplementation – the supplements will help you replenish the amount of iron in your body if you have significant blood loss. A low iron level can result in iron deficiency anemia. This condition can make you feel weak, tired, and dizzy. You may need a blood transfusion if symptoms don’t improve with iron supplementation.
- Blood Transfusion – it replaces any lost blood with blood taken from a donor. This is a procedure that can only be done in the hospital.
- Other Treatments like topical products or nasal sprays. Other disorders, including hemophilia, can be treated with factor replacement therapy. This involves injecting clotting factor concentrates into your bloodstream. These injections can prevent or control excessive bleeding.
- You can also get fresh frozen plasma transfusions if you lack certain clotting factors. Fresh frozen plasma contains factors V and VIII, which are two important proteins that help with blood clotting. These transfusions must be done in a hospital.
Possible Complications of Coagulopathy
As soon as you notice any signs of coagulopathy, it is very important to see a doctor. In order to prevent any complications that may appear, it is crucial to get the correct treatment. Complications often occur when bleeding disorders are treated too late.
The most common complications of bleeding disorders include:
- bleeding in the intestines
- bleeding into the brain
- bleeding into the joints
- joint pain
Complications can also arise if the disorder is severe or causes excessive blood loss. The statistics have shown that coagulopathy can be particularly dangerous for women, especially if they’re not treated quickly. Especially during childbirth, untreated bleeding disorders increase the risk of excessive bleeding. On the other hand, there are cases when the women with bleeding disorders also experience very heavy menstrual bleeding. This leads, in most of the cases, to anemia. Anemia is a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. As a consequence, a person can feel weak, short of breath and dizzy.
It’s important to call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of a bleeding disorder. Getting prompt treatment will help prevent any potential complications.