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What Is Blood Viscosity?

Blood viscosity is the measure of how thin or thick the blood fluid is. When blood is thin, it flows smoothly and the transport of nutrients and body wastes is faster. When blood is thick, blood flow is sluggish and there is a tendency for cholesterol to get deposited in the walls of the blood vessels contributing further to more health problems like cardiovascular problems, eye problems, internal bleeding, headache, vertigo, seizures and coma.

Blood composition, temperature and stress contribute to the thickening of the blood or hyperviscosity. The amount of fluid in the blood especially in the plasma affects its viscosity. More than normal red blood cell count and fats can make the blood thick and cause blood clots to form. Blood clots can be fatal. High blood viscosity may be remedied by medicines that can reduce hyperviscosity and break up blood clots. Low temperatures also affect the viscosity of the blood. Blood flow slows down during prolonged exposure in temperatures lower than the body. This can lead to hypothermia and other cold-related problems like frostbite. To help restore normal blood circulation, slowly warm up the body by wrapping patient with a blanket or embracing the person. The warmth will slowly increase blood flow until normal. This can be painful but better that losing the body part or worse heart failure, lung failure and ultimately death. Blood transfusions are also done to remedy hyperviscosity.

There are blood tests that help determine blood viscosity. Early detection of any abnormality in the blood composition can prevent the inconvenience and risks of more medical problems.

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