Any pipe system has a risk of failure. They can be punctured, or they may rupture if the pressure inside increases rapidly. A human’s blood vessel system is the most complex pipe network, to the extent that, if all blood vessels in your body are laid end to end, they would circle the globe. Theoretically, if a single puncture occurs without a way to repair it, you will lose your blood and die of hypovolemia, but this never occurs.
Why don’t we bleed to death?
Our blood has a complex method to prevent us from bleeding to death. This is called hemostasis, which means “to stop blood”. This system is related to the ability of the blood vessels to contract following injury, minimizing volume loss. Another key aspect is the presence of platelets and coagulation factors. In small injuries, we only need the blood vessels to contract as well as the platelets to plug the opening. In case of greater wounds, following the platelets, other blood proteins called coagulation factors enter a cascade of activation ending in the formation of a tough protein called fibrin, which forms the “blood clot”.
If you thought the word “blood clot” is a bad thing, that’s probably because you pictured someone going into a heart attack or a stroke because of a blood clot, but there’s another side of the coin, which leads us to understand how complex hemostasis is. Against hemostasis, there is another strong system called the fibrinolytic system, which makes sure that no blood clot is formed unless necessary in order to avoid depriving organs from the vital blood supply.