Blood coagulation is a function that is extremely important for the health of the body. It is necessary for the arrest of bleeding. When blood coagulation occurs, blood coagulation factors are released along with blood proteins. These substances help to create fibrin which is an insoluble blood protein. It is sticky in nature and as such begins to stick around the area of the cut or wound. This prevents the red blood cells from passing through. There are several blood coagulation factors present in the human body. Each one plays a role in the process of blood coagulation. Some factors are responsible for increasing the activity of the other factors, whereas other factors help to trigger the process which results in the production of fibrin. The level and functioning of the blood coagulation factors can be determined through medical tests.
Tests can be done to detect the effectiveness of the body in handling the process of blood coagulation. These tests determine the quantities of the various blood coagulation factors. If all the factors are present in sufficient amounts, then blood clotting takes place normally. However, low levels of one or more factors can result in serious concerns. Each blood coagulation factor is present in a specific amount and the deficiency levels differ from factor to factor. Such tests may be ordered when the individual is bleeding or bruising excessively.
A blood sample is taken from the vein in the arm.
Deficiencies in blood coagulation factors are indicative of inherited or acquired diseases. These conditions could range from mild to severe, and may be temporary or permanent. The severity of the disease depends upon the type and quantity of the blood coagulation factor involved. The symptoms may occur in the form of continual bleeding after a dental procedure to severe prolonged bleeding in the muscles and joints. Some individuals who have moderate deficiencies in blood coagulation factor levels may undergo very few symptoms. Such deficiencies may be actually discovered much later following a surgery or during a partial thromboplastin time test or PTT or during a screening which detects prothrombin time or PT. If there is a deficiency of more than one factor, it is usually indicative of an acquired disease. Blood coagulation factors may be present in abnormally low levels due to conditions such as liver disease, uremia, cancer or deficiency of vitamin K. Deficient factors can be replaced through a blood transfusion or through treatment with a drug called desmopressin.