What Are The 3 Types of Bleeding?
Regardless of whether you're a healthcare provider or a bystander, it’s important to know what to do if someone is losing a significant amount of blood. In either case, a rapid assessment and treatment protocol is vital. If you have a basic knowledge of first aid and an understanding of the different types of bleeding, you’ll be better prepared to intervene and provide treatment to the victim.
What Are The 3 Types Of Bleeding?
You might already know that there are different blood types, but did you know that there are also various of bleeding? There are 3 main types: venous bleeding, arterial bleeding, and capillary bleeding.
Each type of bleeding often has its own causes, treatments, and considerations. In order to first treat the bleeding, it’s important to know and understand the type of bleeding in order to provide the best possible care.
However, regardless of the type of bleeding, direct pressure and immediate treatment protocol must be initiated. While many cases of external bleeding are minor, deep wounds to the arteries or veins can quickly become a serious problem. When an individual experiences a loss of 14% of their blood volume, they will begin to manifest physical symptoms such as nausea or fatigue. Drastic blood loss, over 40% of blood volume loss, can result in shock, organ failure, and even death.
While arterial bleeding carries blood with oxygen, veins carry deoxygenated blood. As a result, venous bleeding is usually a darker red. Just like the arteries, the veins also contain a lot of blood, and so blood volume loss can be high and damage can be severe. Blood flows out in more of a steady stream because there is lower blood pressure in the veins than in the arteries.
If venous bleeding is left untreated, the patient can lose blood at a surprisingly rapid rate. To treat it, apply direct pressure and dress the wound.
The capillaries are extremely close to the surface of the skin. As a result, capillary bleeding can result from a shallow wound. While the loss of blood from capillary bleeding is not as quick; the blood usually comes out in a trickle that may start fast but slows down over time.
Generally, capillary bleeding tends to be less severe than the other two types of bleeding and is easier to manage. However, capillary bleeding can often be the most painful despite the superficial nature of the wound. Due to the nature of the wound, it might even heal without intervention, but you can apply a bandage if the bleeding does not stop.
As the name suggests, arterial bleeding has to do with the arteries. If an artery is injured, it can result in very severe bleeding. Arteries contain oxygenated blood and have high blood pressure, and so the blood from arterial bleeding is categorized by spurts of bright red blood. Blood volume tends to be lost quickly during this type of bleeding, so immediate medical care is necessary.
Due to the nature of arterial bleeding, it can be difficult to control and treat. Do your best to manage the bleeding by applying direct pressure. You might use a thick pad or dressing, then secure it with a roller gauze.
Treatment of Severe Bleeding
The three types of bleeding mentioned are typically controlled through the application of direct pressure. When treating a patient that has visible wounds or someone who has experienced significant blood loss, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) should be required. If the loss of blood has not ceased after the first round of dressing and pressure, you can apply another dressing and maintain pressure. If the bleeding is severe and uncontrollable, it is always a good idea to call 911 and seek assistance.
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Dr. Tracy A. Jones is the CEO of Help-A-Heart CPR, LLC and an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.