DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) is a complex and life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s natural clotting system becomes overactive and leads to widespread formation of blood clots in small blood vessels throughout the body.
DIC can occur as a complication of a wide range of underlying medical conditions, including sepsis (a serious bloodstream infection), cancer, trauma, obstetric complications, and severe liver or kidney disease, among others. The underlying medical condition triggers a series of events that result in the activation of the clotting system and the formation of small clots in the blood vessels. These clots can then consume and deplete the body’s clotting factors and platelets, which are necessary for the clotting process to function properly.
As the clotting system becomes overactive, the body’s natural mechanisms to prevent clotting become overwhelmed, leading to a state of hypercoagulability. The small clots that form can also interfere with blood flow to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, and brain, leading to organ damage and failure.
As the body’s clotting factors and platelets become depleted, bleeding can occur, which can be serious and difficult to control. Patients with DIC may develop signs of bleeding, such as bruising, petechiae (small purple or red spots on the skin), bleeding gums, or even more severe bleeding from internal organs.
Overall, DIC is a complex and serious condition that requires prompt recognition and treatment of the underlying medical condition. Treatment often involves replacement of clotting factors and platelets, along with management of the underlying condition.