How Infused Factor Works with Your Body’s Natural Clotting Process
When you have a bleeding disorder, certain proteins, called clotting factors, are missing from your blood. An infused factor treatment temporarily replaces these missing factors. This treatment allows your blood to clot by working within the natural steps of the blood clotting process.
But this process requires a delicate balance. A series of on/off steps are involved to activate or inactivate the factors as needed to form a proper clot.
Factor Remains Inactive Until You Need It
Usually the blood clotting process remains off, like a light switch. When a bleed occurs, a signal is sent that turns on the blood clotting process, causing the factor to become activated to help stop the bleed.
Once the bleed is controlled, the process turns off again, meaning the factor is inactivated once more. Over time, unused factor is eliminated from the blood as part of your body's natural process.
Activated factors help stop a bleed:
- WHEN you need it (for example, during a spontaneous bleed)
- WHERE you need it (for example, a knee or elbow bleed)
- In the AMOUNT you need
The Complicated Sequence of the Natural Clotting Process
When your body detects a bleed, the clotting factors are switched on in a particular order, one after the other. Each factor activates the next until they form a clot. This is known as the coagulation cascade.
It may help to imagine the process like a row of dominoes. Each factor signals the next, all working together the way a domino in a line with other dominoes will fall and knock over the one next to it, and so on. If a single domino is missing, the row of dominoes will stop falling. In the same way, if a single factor is missing from the clotting process (like missing factor VIII or factor IX), a proper clot will not form when you have a bleed.