The purpose of this post is to inform about Platelet Aggregation Test (PAT) and its effects on blood coagulation. PAT is a method used to measure the ability of your body’s clotting system to prevent bleeding. When blood clots form, they block blood flow through vessels or arteries leading from the heart to other parts of the body. If there are no clotting factors present in the blood, then the blocked artery will eventually burst and bleed out. Without any clotting factor present in the blood, a person could die within minutes of having a large amount of blood drawn without proper medical care.
A platelet agglutination test (PAT) measures how well your body’s clotting system works when it comes to preventing bleeding. A platelet agglutination test uses a special type of dye called heparinized red blood cells (HRC). Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body.
Hemoglobin binds with iron, making it easier for the iron to bind with other molecules in the bloodstream. Iron is necessary for clotting because it helps hold together the various proteins and fats that make up our bodies. The HRCs used in the test are treated with an antibody that causes them to clump together when exposed to the platelet secretions of your blood. An excessive amount of platelet aggregation (clot formation) indicates a bleeding disorder.
Because blood clots are essential for survival, the body has several ways of preventing excessive bleeding. One of these is through the use of a powerful anti-clotting agent called Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA). tPA is designed to break down clots by dissolving the fibrin that binds them together.
As you may already know, tPA is the active ingredient in certain medications that are used to treat heart disease and stroke. The medication can also be used to treat bleeding disorders, but only by injection. When injected into a person with a clotting disorder, tPA allows for normal blood clotting.
tPA is not a cure for these types of disorders, but it can make life a lot easier for people who have to endure long-term injections.
The platelet aggregation test measures the amount of tPA in your blood. The more tPA that is detected, the more likely it is that you have a bleeding disorder. Many diseases can result in excessive bleeding.
A few of the most common are Von Willebrand’s disease, hemophilia, and leukemia. There are several other diseases that can cause clotting disorders as well.
The body can also suffer from an overabundance or a lack of platelets. When the count is too low (known as thrombocytopenia), excessive bleeding can occur because there are not enough platelets to bind to the HRCs in the blood and clump them together. This type of bleeding can be life-threatening without medical treatment.
Such treatment usually involves a platelet transfusion, which can be a difficult and expensive process.
If your body has too many platelets (thrombocytosis), clots will form excessively, possibly resulting in life-threatening blockages of the heart or brain vessels. In some rare cases, it is possible to have both an overabundance of platelets and a clumping hemorrhagic disease. This condition is highly dangerous if left untreated and can result in death.
The most common cause of an excessively high platelet count is the response of the body to serious trauma. This can include physical trauma and emotional trauma. The latter, known as psychological shock, can occur through the death of a loved one or even something less severe such as a divorce or loss of employment.
Another common cause is known as Storage Pool Disease (SPD). This disease can be brought on by the use of certain types of medication or even by exposure to extreme cold.
In most cases of thrombocytosis, the condition is not fatal and can be treated by simply lowering the platelet count through the use of medication designed for this purpose. The medication prescribed will vary depending upon the cause of the disorder.
The causes of both excessive bleeding and an overabundance of platelets are many and varied. Other types of disorders such as faulty or under-produced blood clotting factors can also result in similar disorders.
The treatment of platelet disorders varies depending upon the exact cause. In some cases, simply resting can be enough to allow the body to heal. In other serious cases, a bone marrow transplant may be required in order to produce new, healthy blood.
The platelet aggregation test is a simple blood test that can tell the clinician if your tendency to bleed is greater than normal or less than normal. The presence of the disease Von Willebrand’s is easily detected by this method. In cases where the cause of excessive bleeding is not immediately apparent, a series of tests may be run in order to determine the exact cause.
The platelet aggregation test is a fairly routine test and does not pose any serious risks. The only side effect is a small bruise at the injection site, which should go away within a few days.
Q: I just found out that I am pregnant and my doctor has told me that I have anemia, which is a shortage of healthy red blood cells. She says this can make me tired and short of breath.
Can you tell me more about anemia?
A: Anemia is a shortage of the cells in the blood that carry oxygen throughout the body. These cells are known as red blood cells. When a person has anemia, they do not have enough red cells to carry adequate oxygen anywhere in their body. This can result in extreme tiredness and shortness of breath even from the slightest exertion.
There are many different causes of anemia and they range from simple dietary changes all the way to complex and sometimes life-threatening causes. The type of anemia you suffer from depends on what is causing your shortage of red blood cells.
The most common cause of anemia is a lack of iron in the body. Red blood cells, like all cells in the body, are composed primarily of iron and people with low iron levels will have a shortage of red blood cells. The usual cause of this condition is an insufficient amount of iron in the diet.
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