Blood clotting disorders are problems in the body’s ability to control how the blood clots. Normally, blood clots form during an injury to prevent bleeding. If you have a clotting disorder, your blood may not clot enough, which can lead to too much bleeding, or your blood may form clots even without an injury.
You can read about conditions that happen when your blood does not clot enough in our Bleeding Disorders health topic. This topic focuses on clotting disorders that happen when your blood clots more often than it should.
Blood clotting disorders are sometimes called coagulation disorders or thrombophilias. They are either inherited (meaning that you are born with the condition) or acquired (meaning you develop the condition as the result of another illness or injury). For example, antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) are types of acquired blood clotting disorders.
Blood clots can cause many health problems. Symptoms of blood clots depend on where in the body they form. Typically, they will form in the veins and appear in the legs or lungs. Blood clots in the legs can cause deep vein thrombosis. Blood clots in the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism. It is rare for blood clots to form in the arteries. When they do, they can lead to heart attack or stroke.
If you think you may have a blood clotting disorder, your doctor will ask about your family and medical history. They may also run tests to be sure of the diagnosis. If you have a blood clotting disorder, you may need medicine to stop the blood from clotting. Your doctor may also talk to you about ways to prevent blood clots and to stay healthy.