Blood Clots Caused By Vitamin Deficiency

Blood Clots Caused By Vitamin Deficiency

Blood clotting is defined as a natural process in which blood cells and fibrin strands rapidly form a clump to discontinue bleeding on injury to a blood vessel.

In due course, the clot forms a protective scab over a wounded blood vessel, allowing it to heal. This natural body mechanism acts as a life savior. If the body did not have the ability to form blood clots, people would bleed to death after even a minor cut.

On bleeding, the body initiates a series of activities that aid the blood clot. This is called the coagulation cascade. This process involves special proteins called coagulation factors namely Factor II, Factor VII, Factor IX and Factor X. Each factor's reaction triggers the next reaction. The final product of the coagulation cascade is the blood clot. The chain reaction is hampered, if certain coagulation factors are either too low or missing. This can lead to severe bleeding. Factor II is also called prothrombin and thereby, the lack of prothrombin is referred to as factor II deficiency. Vitamin K is directly responsible for this deficiency. This is because the blood clotting protein, prothrombin is most affected by the lack of vitamin K.

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin. The vitamin K present in plant food is called phylloquinone; while the form of the vitamin present in animal food is called menaquinone. Both these forms are absorbed from one’s diet and converted to an active form called dihydrovitamin K. Spinach, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, egg, soybean oil, olive oil and cow’s milk are known to be rich in vitamin K. Apart from the dietary sources, this vitamin is also be derived from a bacteria present in the intestine.

Vitamin K is very essential for the process of blood clotting. Insufficient intake of vitamin K leads to its deficiency in the body, which further results in a tendency for spontaneous and prolonged bleeding, in cases of injury or trauma. The deficiency of vitamin K could arise in newborn babies and in adults under treatment of antibiotics. The risk factor is high in infants as their intestines are devoid of the vitamin K producing bacteria and the mother’s milk has low levels of this vitamin. This condition could develop a disease called hemorrhagic that causes spontaneous bleeding in the infant’s body. In rare cases, excessive bleeding in the brain could also lead to death. In adults, this condition may arise on being treated with antibiotics that kill the vitamin K producing bacteria in the digestive tract. The symptoms of this deficiency are visible in the form of bleeding gums and easily bruised skin. Chronically low levels of vitamin K are correlated with higher risk of hip fracture in older men and women.

A prothrombin time test is used to decipher the level of vitamin K. The normal prothrombin time is about 13 seconds, which exceeds to several minutes in cases of the vitamin deficiency. Phylloquinone in varying dosage is used for treatment in infants and adults. The medication gives tremendous outcome for treating the deficiency and thus rectifying the blood clotting problem.

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Blood Clots Caused By Vitamin Deficiency