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What to Know About Fibrin Degradation Products

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 29, 2021

Fibrin degradation products (FDPs) — also called fibrin split products — are small pieces of protein that stay in your blood when a blood clot dissolves inside your body. Doctors can test for the presence of these small protein fragments and therefore diagnose conditions that can negatively impact your health. D-dimer is a type of FDP that doctors check for.

Impact of Elevated FDP Levels on Your Health

Elevated FDP levels can be seen if you have blood clots, strokes, and heart disease. FDP is also found in disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) — where multiple clots form in your body and lead to blockages in your small blood vessels.

High levels of fibrinogen in your blood may also predict your chances of getting cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease in the future.

High blood pressure in women can also be associated with elevated fibrinogen levels.

How Are Elevated FDP Levels Diagnosed?

Your doctor may require you to get a fibrin degradation test to check your FDP levels. The normal range of fibrin D-dimer is typically less than 500 nanograms per milliliter of blood. 

If this test shows elevated FDP levels, you may have conditions like:

Some medications like barbiturates and heparin can also increase the level of fibrin split products in your bloodstream, which your doctor will take into account.

Treatment of Conditions That Can Cause High FDP Levels

When the levels of FDPs including D-dimers increase in your blood, your doctor will often need to treat the underlying condition or causes that are leading to the elevated FDP levels in the first place. This can help to avoid the related health risks and improve your prognosis — or your pathway toward recovery.‌‌

If you have DIC, your physician might suggest treatments like anticoagulant therapy which can prevent clotting, or the restoration of the anticoagulant passageway. 

When other conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) increase your FDP levels, there are other treatments to keep them under control. DVT is a condition where blood clots can form inside your body, especially in your lower body. The condition can be extremely dangerous to your health. Treatments to prevent DVT include blood thinners, compression stockings to prevent clots, and anticoagulants (medicines that prevent clotting).

Prevention of Conditions That Can Cause High FDP levels

There are several lifestyle changes you can make to avoid conditions that can cause elevated FDP levels.

Reduce or stop smoking. Smoking cigarettes is associated with increased FDP levels. The FDP level can remain elevated for years even after quitting smoking.

Drink alcohol in moderation. Moderating your alcohol consumption may reduce FDP levels. Even though a small quantity of red wine may be associated with lower FDP levels, more research is needed to see.

Make adjustments to your diet. Obesity is closely linked with higher levels of FDP in the blood. Losing weight may help prevent the conditions that can cause the FDP to be elevated, such as heart attacks, strokes or blood clots. One primary change you can make is to lose weight steadily and safely.

Eating too much food containing red meat and refined sugar — a very common characteristic of several Western diets — have been associated with raised FDP levels. So, switching to a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables can increase the levels of vitamin B6 in your blood but reduce those of cholesterol and fatty acids.

A diet that’s richer in a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and fiber can lower your risks of the conditions that can raise FDP levels.‌ Exercise is also beneficial for this objective. Ultimately, losing weight and lowering your body fat percentage is associated with lower FDP levels. 

Reduce stress levels. Stressful situations cause the release of the hormone, cortisol. Higher serum cortisol levels are linked with raised FDP levels.

Check if you're using the right contraception. The use of oral contraceptives may also be linked with higher levels of FDP. Women who regularly use birth control pills are more prone to have elevated FDP levels in their blood than those who don't. This effect is further magnified in women who take birth control pills and also smoke. If this describes you, consider changing to a different form of contraception and avoid smoking.‌

Show Sources

‌SOURCES:

Annals of Behavioral Medicine: “Blood Pressure and Fibrinogen Responses to Mental Stress as Predictors of Incident Hypertension over an 8-Year Period.”‌

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: “Effects of diet, drugs, and genes on plasma fibrinogen levels.”

Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: “Association between serum fibrinogen concentrations and HDL and LDL subfraction phenotypes in healthy men,” “Dietary Factors Related to Higher Plasma Fibrinogen Levels of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii Compared with Japanese in Japan.”

Critical Care Medicine: “Rationale for restoration of physiological anticoagulant pathways in patients with sepsis and disseminated intravascular coagulation.”

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Effect of red wine and red grape extract on blood lipids, haemostatic factors, and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease”

European Journal of Preventive Cardiology: “Fibrinogen and cigarette smoking in men and women in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer in Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk) population.”

Journal of Thrombosis and Hemostasis: “Effects on coagulation of levonorgestrel- and desogestrel-containing low dose oral contraceptives: a cross-over study.”‌

Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis: “Higher morning serum cortisol level predicts increased fibrinogen but not shortened APTT.”

Indian Journal of Hematology and Blood Transfusion: “A Study of Plasma Fibrinogen Level in Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus and its Relation to Glycemic Control.”

International Journal of Clinical Practice: “Plasma fibrinogen is associated with cognitive decline and risk for dementia in patients with mild cognitive impairment.”

Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental: “Body fat is the main predictor of fibrinogen levels in healthy non-obese men.”

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.”

PLOS One: “Relationship between Physical Activity and Plasma Fibrinogen Concentrations in Adults without Chronic Diseases.”

The Netherlands Medical Journal: “Never ignore extremely elevated D-dimer levels: they are specific for serious illness.”

Thrombosis Research: “Nutritional status influences plasma fibrinogen concentration: evidence from the THUSA survey."

‌UCSF: “Fibrin degradation products blood test.”

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