Experiences of a med student with an incurable travel bug.

Bloody Sunday

We’ve been back in class for three weeks here at Lakeside Med (a pseudonym, of course, in keeping with my super-pseudo-anonymity for the occasional awry google search), which means it’s high time for a final exam. This first block was hematology, so I’ve been up to my eyeballs in [information about] blood. It turns out that there the blood can do some pretty crazy things, so I thought I’d share some of the more random ones.

Fun Blood Facts:

-Running is dangerous! For real. Every time your feet slam onto pavement it’s a micro-trauma that can destroy your red blood cells. This fun little hemolytic event is transient and normal, but I’m going to go ahead and use it to justify the days that I skip spin class.

-Kissing can kill you! Actually, it’s hickeys that might do you in: apparently if the bruising is in just the right place – over a major artery – it may induce enough damage to trigger clot formation, which can then dislodge and cause a stroke.

-Pregnancy is dangerous! There are all sorts of reasons behind this one, but a few of the hematologic fun facts: the mother can produce ~50 different antibodies that can attack the fetus, leading to red blood cell lysis and possible fetal death; the mother can develop Diffuse Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) which creates lots of small clots throughout her body while simultaneously┬ácausing excessive bleeding…and the list goes on.

The more you know!

Comments on: "Bloody Sunday" (2)

  1. I find the pregnancy /blood fact curious – any idea how many spontaneous abortions are caused by these internal blood clots? I was told that one in four of all women have had spontaneous abortions without even knowing they had been pregnant.

    • This particular condition (DIC) is an extreme scenario that usually happens in/brings people to hospitals; women with this (or anyone who develops it for other reasons) are in really bad shape and are likely to die without treatment.

      You’re right about the spontaneous abortion rates, though — current estimates place the spontaneous abortion/miscarriage rate at ~15-20%, but that’s measured in people who knew they were pregnant. Studies that have tried to measure this rate in all pregnancies, including those that are undetected, have found the total rate to be about 31% . This dude states that the rates might actually be as high as 50%, but I don’t know where he got that number…but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the numbers were that high.

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