My Life with Multiple Chronic Illnesses, Including Lyme Disease

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hypercoagulation, another charming feature of Lyme disease!

If you have Lyme disease, this post is meant to be both a warning and call to action for you.....please read and take it seriously!

It literally took me months and months and months to get serious about testing for hypercoagulation (i.e., "thick blood"), after one of my friends in a Lyme disease forum urged me to do so.....and sure enough, I've got it!

One LLMD claims that out of 900 patients, at least 90% have had hypercoagulation issues. While only 5% of the "normal" population are ever diagnosed with hypercoagulation!

My doctor ordered the following blood tests for me: Hemex Laboratories' ISAC (Immune System Activation of Coagulation) test panel and Hereditary Hypercoagulation test panel. My blood coagulation results were very abnormal.

So what exactly is hypercoagulation?

It's a condition in which your blood will clot more quickly than normal, and it causes your actual blood flow, especially through the smallest capillaries, to be slower than usual.

Why is this such a bad thing? Well, if your blood is clotting too quickly and easily, and the various clotting factor levels (fibrinogen, fibrin, thrombin/antithrombin complexes, fragment 1+2, and Factor II (prothrombin) activity) are too high, this can even lead to a stroke.

At the very least, your body will not receive oxygen, nutrients, or medications as rapidly as it would if your blood was actually flowing at normal speed. The smallest blood vessels (capillaries), are only about 8 microns in diameter. A 7-micron-wide red blood cell may not be able to make it through a capillary with sludge-y deposits of fibrinogen attached to its walls....this could ultimately lead to cellular anoxia, starvation and death.

And It DEFINITELY makes your heart work harder!

Apparently this is a favorite tactic of the Lyme bacteria (i.e., increasing the coagulation components in your blood); they prevent your cells from getting the nutrients they need, while creating hiding places for themselves to avoid Lyme treatments....the fibrin clumps clinging to the endothelial surfaces of the capillary walls make nice little nests to hide in.

So what can be done about hypercoagulation??

My LLMD has prescribed subcutaneous heparin injections, 1 cc (5000 units) twice a day. I started them a couple of days ago. It's really not that hard to give yourself subcutaneous injections. Just type "how to give yourself a subcutaneous injection" into Google and you'll get a bunch of hits, very helpful.

My online friend has told me that the heparin shots she's been taking for months have made a HUGE difference in how she feels.

Now, yes, there are "natural" remedies too, I believe, but I've read that they are not as effective as heparin. One LLMD claims that heparin is not only a blood thinner, it is also anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and may even be anti-cancer.