Bleeding Disorder: Types of Bleeding, Cause, and Treatments

Bleeding disorders are a collection of diseases that occur when the blood cannot clot well. Platelets generally stick together and form a connection at the injured site. Platelets join and guard the injury site so that excessive blood is not lost. Proteins in the blood are called clotting agents which interact to produce a fibrin clot, typically a gel plug, which promotes the platelets and enables healing to happen at the area of the injury. This helps in blocking blood from leaving the blood vessel.

While excessive clotting can lead to situations like heart attack and strokes, the failure to develop clots can be extremely dangerous. Unhealthy bleeding can cause few or irregular platelets, abnormal or low quantities of clotting proteins, or abnormal blood vessels.

Causes of Bleeding disorder

Hemophilia is possibly an inherited bleeding disease and it is rare and mostly affects males compare to females. Von Willebrand disease is a common inherited bleeding disorder in the USA produced by clotting proteins. Von Willebrand disease can affect both males and females. Platelet disorders are the most common reason for bleeding disorders.

External bleeding

External bleeding points to bleeding that flows out of the skin. Examples include nosebleeds, bleeding from injury etc.

Types of External Bleeding

There are three main types of bleeding:

arterial, venous, and capillary bleeding.

  • Arterial bleeding happens in the arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the body.
  • Venous bleeding occurs in the veins, which transport blood back to the heart.
  • Capillary bleeding occurs in the capillaries, which are small blood vessels that join the arteries to the veins.

Bleeding from the arteries and veins can be dangerous. When this occurs, a person needs to receive immediate medical attention. Capillary bleeding is a common type of bleeding.

Arterial bleeding

Arterial bleeding is the most critical. It can occur from a sharp injury, trauma, by damage to organs or blood vessels.

This type of bleeding can be difficult to manage because the pressure from the beating heart means that it will not clot or stop as quickly.

Steps to control bleeding

  1. The first step is to keep pressure over the injury making the bleeding with a latex-gloved hand and sterile gauze. Get medical help.
  2. When the bleeding occurs from an artery in the arm or leg, it may assist to raise the body part above the level of the heart.
  3. the last option includes applying a tourniquet above the bleeding wound.

Venous bleeding

Venous bleeding is less difficult than arterial bleeding, but it is also dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.

It is dark red as the blood is originating from a vein. The blood flows firmly but comes out less vigorously than it does with arterial bleeding.

Capillary bleeding

Capillary bleeding normally happens due to skin damage. Rather than erupting out like arterial bleeding or flowing out like venous bleeding, it leaks from the injured body part.

Capillary bleeding is less severe and easy to control.

Treatment involves:

  1. Cleanse the injury with soap and water.
  2. Cleaning the wound to avoid infections.
  3. The last step is to apply pressure with a latex-gloved hand and sterile dressing.

Internal bleeding

Internal bleeding refers to bleeding that happens inside the body. It can happen due to any damage to the internal organs. Internal bleeding can happen anywhere in your body like hip, knee, elbow, joints etc. It can also occur in the brain, intestines, lungs etc. Internal bleeding isn’t as simple to see or diagnose

Symptoms of internal bleeding

Internal bleeding can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know quickly exhibits the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

  • dizziness
  • severe weakness
  • passing out
  • low blood pressure
  • numbness
  • severe headache
  • severe abdominal pain
  • chest pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Intracranial bleeding

This happens when a blood vessel inside the brain, or skull fractures and bleeds around or inside the brain. It can happen due to high blood pressure, which weakens the arterial walls.

Symptoms can include:

  • weakness on one side of the body
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache

Pleural cavity bleeding

The pleural cavity is the area enclosing the lungs. When bleeding happens it prevents normal lung expansion that affects the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and the blood.

Symptoms can include:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness

Heavy and uncontrollable bleeding is a life-threatening emergency that can create shock and death. If you experience a severe external bleed or suspect internal bleeding, seek medical care or visit us immediately.


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