Thick blood: causes and treatment

Thick blood is a condition in which the blood has a high viscosity. Pathological increase in blood viscosity develops as a result of violations of the process of clotting and increasing the number of cells.

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The blood consists of cells and plasma. Its density increases with increase in the number of blood cells (polycythemia) and increased clotting (hypercoagulability).
Very thick blood prevents the circulation of oxygen, nutrients and hormones in the body, disrupts their normal delivery to the tissues and cells. This can cause hypoxia, lack of nutrients and hormonal deficiency.

Why thick blood dangerous?

Increased density of blood can be dangerous, especially when late detection and lack of proper treatment. People with this problem have an increased risk of blood clots in arteries and veins. Blood clots in the venous system can cause deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the veins of the pelvis, legs, arms, liver, intestines or kidneys) or tromboembolia pulmonary artery. Blood clots in the arteries can cause such effects as stroke, heart attack and ischemia of the extremities.

Causes thick blood

State of hypercoagulability in humans can be caused by genetic or acquired diseases. The genetic form of this disease leads to the fact that the child from birth increases the tendency to form blood clots. The cause of acquired hypercoagulability may be associated with:

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  • Malignant tumors.
  • Taking certain medicines for the treatment of cancer (e.g., Tamoxifen, with bevacizumab, Thalidomide).
  • Recent injuries or surgical operations.
  • Catheterization of Central veins.
  • Obesity.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Taking estrogen drugs, including oral contraceptives.
  • Hormone replacement therapy.
  • Long recumbent position or immobility.
  • Heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke or other disease, which leads to decrease activity.
  • A reduction in the number of blood platelets due to heparin.
  • Long journeys in planes («economy class syndrome»).
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome.
  • A history of deep vein thrombosis or thromboembolia of the pulmonary veins.
  • Myeloproliferative disorders.
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • HIV infection.
  • Nephrotic syndrome (increased protein in the urine).
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Polycythemia can be divided into several different types depending on the causes of this condition:

  • «Apparent polycythaemia» is observed when the normal number of red blood cells, but a reduced amount of blood plasma. This condition is often observed in obesity, Smoking, abuse of alcohol or receiving certain drugs (e.g., diuretics). Sometimes this pathology is called «relative polycythemia» if it develops as a result of dehydration.
  • «Absolute polycythemia» can occur when the body produces too many red blood cells. There are two types of this disease – primary and secondary polycythemia. The primary form there is a problem in the cells produced by the bone marrow that become red blood cells. The most common variant of the primary form is called polycythemia Vera. When the secondary form is too large, the number of erythrocytes produced in response to the presence of underlying disease.

Polycythemia Vera is a rare disease caused by a defect in a particular gene that causes an increased production of red blood cells in the bone marrow. It affected cells also develop in other blood cells, which in people with polycythemia Vera increases the number of platelets and leukocytes. Although the cause of this disease lies in the genetic defect, it is usually not inherited. Most of the cases develops at an older age (approximately 60 years).

Secondary polycythemia develops as a result of the fact that the underlying disease leads to increased elaboration of erythropoietin. Is a hormone produced in the kidneys that stimulates cells in the bony brain for the production of red blood cells. To the development of secondary polycythemia can result in:

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  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sleep apnea syndrome; can cause increase erythropoietin due to insufficient supply of oxygen to the tissues.
  • Kidney problems, for example, a tumor or narrowing of the renal arteries.

Treatment of thick blood

Treatment of thick blood depends on the causes of this condition. It is aimed at preventing symptoms and complications, elimination of etiological factors.
When a hypercoagulable state in most cases, it may be useful to appointment of anticoagulants – drugs that reduce the blood’s ability to form clots. These include Warfarin, Xarelto, Heparin and low molecular weight heparins (enoxaparin, fraxiparin), Fondaparinux. It should be remembered that these drugs increase the risk of bleeding, therefore at their appointment need careful monitoring of blood clotting. When polycythemia is possible to use:

  • Venesection (bloodletting) is the removal from the body approximately 500 ml of blood, which is the easiest and fastest way to reduce the number of red blood cells.
  • Therapy with Hydroxycarbamide or Interferon which slow down the production of red blood cells.

The mainstay of treatment of secondary polycythemia is the treatment of major diseases that cause its development.
In any case, it’s not as if thick blood treatment of folk remedies without consulting your physician. Any plants or products may interact with medical drugs, which may uncontrolled to lower or increase their activity. This can lead to thrombosis or bleeding.

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