Thrombophilia and Hypercoagulability
The human body normally maintains a careful balance between bleeding and clotting. Blood cells called platelets, proteins in the blood, and the cells lining the blood vessels are closely regulated, so that the body forms blood clots to stop bleeding resulting from injury, but it does not form an unwanted and harmful clot (also called thrombus or thrombosis) in our blood vessels. Thrombosis may cause heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots in the legs (called deep vein thrombosis) or in the lungs (called pulmonary embolism).
What Is Thrombophilia?
Thrombophilia is an inherited (genetic) or acquired tendency to develop thrombosis (Table 1). Thrombophilias can cause thrombosis by manufacturing too much clotting protein, making abnormal clotting proteins that are resistant to breakdown, producing too little of proteins that prevent thrombosis, or damaging the walls of the blood vessel. Thrombophilias can cause thrombosis in arteries, veins, or both.
The most common thrombophilias include inherited abnormalities of clotting such as factor V Leiden and the …