Blood Coagulation: A List Of 13 Blood Clotting Factors & Their Significance
Blood clotting, how many of you have come across this peculiar sounding term? Although used often in medical circles, it is a process that happens inside the human body while doing many activities on an everyday basis. To a layman, it is not easy to determine what this process entails, what are the various clotting factors, and what is its significance in the human body. This article will make this seemingly incomprehensible process much easier for you to understand.
Consider this situation. You are engaged in some work at your office or home and suddenly you accidentally brush your hand against a sharp object. You will find only a small amount of blood oozing out of your skin. Gradually, this blood flow decreases and eventually stops. What happened to this blood? How did it stop? What if it had not stopped? Well, it is due to the coagulation of blood which stopped you from bleeding to death. Let us look into coagulation and clotting factors in greater detail.
What Is Blood Coagulation?
Illustration of blood coagulation, Credit: Canva
According to physiology experts, blood coagulation entails the entire process through which the formation of a blood clot takes place. The blood clot is formed to stop the process of blood loss from a ruptured vessel in your body. It is a three-part process that can be explained by the following:
The formation of a platelet plug
Whenever you get an injury, the platelets that circulate in your bloodstream begin to respond to it. They join together and collectively release chemicals that commence the next stage of this process.
Here, there is a change in the state of molecules from inactive to active states. It is due to the combined effect of the injury and platelet activity. This leads to the development of fibrin which is a mesh of protein that resembles a net. It works to reinforce the platelet plug and captures the blood cells that are passing.
In the last part of this process, clot dissolution leads to blood flow friction as the liver eliminates the pro-clotting chemicals. It results in the stimulation of chemicals that generate a clot-dissolving enzyme, which is called plasmin.
What Are the Factors in Blood Clotting?
Blood clotting in human body, Credit: Canva
As you know, it is only because of the process of coagulation that you remain protected from excessive blood loss. This process is the result of a series of coagulation factors that are also called clotting factors. It is only due to the stepwise activation of these clotting factors that you are able to experience the process of blood coagulation. A string of steps contributes to the formation of the protein fiber fibrin.
Do you know how many clotting factors are there due to which blood loss is stopped? There are 13 factors. Let us look into them in greater detail.
What Are the 13 Blood Clotting Factors?
Factor 1. – Fibrinogen
Factor 2. – Prothrombin
Factor 3. – Tissue Thromboplastin
Factor 4. – Calcium Ions
Factor 5. – Labile Factor or Proaccelerin
Factor 6. – Stable Factor
Factor 8. – Antihemophilic Factor
Factor 9. – Christmas Factor
Factor 10. – Stuart – Power Factor
Factor 11. – Plasma Thrombin antecedent
Factor 12. – Hageman Factor
Factor 13. – Fibrin Stabilising Factor
These clotting factors together interact and lead to the coagulation cascade. All these clotting factors are present in an inactive state for blood clotting to happen, they are to be activated. They are activated in the three stages of the clotting formation. When the thrombin is changed to fibrin, it stabilizes the platelet plug. It is called a clot.
When the ruptured vessel is repaired, the clot is automatically eliminated. It is digested by the plasmin enzyme in your body.
Are Clotting Factors Proteins?
Illustration of blood clotting, Credit: Canva
All the clotting factors are proteins that are circulating in the blood. They are indispensable for clot formation to happen. Remember that except for factor 4, that is, Calcium Ions, all the other factors are protein. They all are necessary for the formation of fibrin. Have you ever wondered why they are numbered like this? It is because they were discovered in that order. Factor 4 which is Calcium Ions is a cofactor that is vital for the activation of various proteins.
Without coagulation of blood, your blood vessels cannot be repaired. Your body will not be able to repair the damage caused to the vessels due to injury in the absence of blood clotting. As you know, all the 13 coagulation factors are essential for the clotting process to take place. Without their aid, it is impossible for you to revive from blood loss.
Note that some of the clotting factors like factor 2, 9, 7, and 10 are produced by your liver with the help of vitamin K. Hence, you should consume food sources that are rich in vitamin K for the efficient production of these clotting factors.
The significance of these factors cannot be ignored as blood clotting is a vital process that saves you from small accidents becoming life threatening. Hence, you should pay adequate attention to your diet to ensure that your liver is efficiently producing the requisite factors for it.