Blood clotting

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Ananya Juluri

What are blood clotting factors? What are the thirteen clotting factors?

Sangeetha Pulapaka

13 clotting factors? Wow! This number gets a bad rep everytime!

When we injure ourselves and start to bleed, our bodies make sure that the bleeding soon stops by forming a clump of blood (a blood clot) that closes the wound. This reaction is very important, because it ensures that we lose as little blood as possible, stops germs from getting into the wound, and allows the wound to heal.

But sometimes blood clots form in the bloodstream even though there are no external injuries, and blood vessels may become blocked as a result. This can lead to dangerous complications such as a heart attack or stroke. These kinds of blood clots only occur very rarely in healthy people. But certain illnesses and genetic factors can increase the risk of blood clots forming. Many people who have this higher risk take anti-clotting medication as prevention.

When we injure ourselves and start to bleed, this is what happens:

Our blood vessels become narrower. This reduces the flow of blood to the injured tissue, limiting the loss of blood.

Blood platelets in the bloodstream, known as thrombocytes, attach to the damaged area of the blood vessel and clump together to reduce the bleeding.

The body then activates a number of substances in the blood and the tissue. These substances solidify the clump by forming a special protein and fix the clump at the wound. These substances are called clotting factors or coagulation factors. There are 13 clotting factors in human blood and tissues. Most of them are made in the liver. The liver needs vitamin K to make some of these clotting factors. Our bodies cannot make their own vitamin K, so people have to get it in  so people have to get it in their diet.

Here is more information on the 13 clotting factors: