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Blood Clots

What Causes Blood Clots? continued...

Waxy cholesterol plaques that form in arteries have thrombogenic substances inside, too. If the plaque breaks open, they'll start the clotting process. Most heart attacks and strokes happen when a plaque in your heart or brain suddenly bursts.

Blood clots can also form when your blood doesn't flow properly. If it pools in your blood vessels or heart, the platelets are more likely to stick together. Atrial fibrillation and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are two conditions where slowly moving blood can cause clotting problems.

What Medications Affect the Clotting Process?

Some drugs stop platelets from signaling each other so they won't stick together.

Medicines called blood thinners make it hard for your body to make clotting factors, or they prevent a clotting factor or thrombin from working.

  • Apixaban (Eliquis)
  • Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
  • Edoxaban (Savaysa)
  • Heparin
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)

A clot-dissolving drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) activates plasmin. Sometimes doctors prescribe it as a treatment for heart attack or stroke.

Which Medical Conditions Cause Blood-Clotting Problems?

You're more likely to get blood clots you don't need when you don't have the right balance between clotting factors and anticoagulants. Doctors call this a hypercoagulable state.

People with hemophilia have a problem with their genes. Their bodies don't make some clotting factors correctly, so their blood doesn't clot well and they can bleed a lot.

A relatively common condition called von Willebrand factor deficiency makes blood clots form slowly because your body doesn't have enough of a specific thrombogenic protein to trigger the process. It's usually mild.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on July 01, 2015
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