by PhilipJ on 3 March 2006
Blood performs many essential jobs in your body: it transports oxygen and nutrients, it protects your cells from infection, and it carries hormones and other messages from place to place in your body. But since blood is a liquid that is pumped under pressure, we must protect ourselves from leaks. Fortunately, the blood has a built-in repair method that quickly stops up breaks in the blood circulatory system as soon as they happen. You see these repairs in action whenever you cut yourself: the blood thickens and forms a gooey clot, which then dries into a scab that seals and protects the cut until it can heal.
Blood clotting is a tricky business. All of the building blocks for a clot must be present all the time, so that they can instantly jump into action when damage occurs. But this must be done carefully and only at exactly the right time. If clots form in the wrong places, they could block the normal flow of blood, which could then cause heart attacks or strokes. Tissue factor is one of the molecules that triggers the formation of a clot when the time is right.
Read the rest of David’s article here!