The Heart and Vascular Disease
Blood Clotting Disorders
Blood clotting disorders are conditions that make the blood more likely to form blood clots in the arteries and veins. These conditions may be inherited (congenital, occurring at birth) or acquired during life and include:
- Elevated levels of factors in the blood which cause blood to clot (fibrinogen, factor 8, prothrombin).
- Deficiency of natural anticoagulant (blood-thinning) proteins (antithrombin, protein C, protein S).
- Elevated blood counts.
- Abnormal fibrinolysis (the breakdown of fibrin).
- Abnormal changes in the lining of the blood vessels (endothelium).
The lymphatic system is a circulatory system that includes an extensive network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes. The lymphatic system helps coordinate the immune system's function to protect the body from foreign substances.
Lymphedema is an abnormal build-up of fluid that causes swelling, most often in the arms or legs. Lymphedema develops when lymph vessels or lymph nodes are missing, impaired, damaged, or removed.
Primary lymphedema is rare and is caused by the absence of certain lymph vessels at birth, or it may be caused by abnormalities in the lymphatic vessels.
Secondary lymphedema occurs as a result of a blockage or interruption that alters the lymphatic system. Secondary lymphedema can develop from an infection, malignancy, surgery, scar tissue formation, trauma, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), radiation, or other cancer treatment.