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The body has several important mechanisms in place to prevent bleeding. This is collectively known as hemostasis and involves four major steps – vasoconstriction, platelet plug, blood clot formation and fibrous tissue growth. Some of these mechanisms take effect within seconds of a break in the blood vessel while others reach completion over minutes or even days. Although this process is known as hemostasis, it is commonly referred to as blood clotting. However it is important to note at the outset that blood clotting (coagulation) is actually only one step in the entire mechanism known as hemostasis.

A break in a blood vessel, either artery or vein, may occur for any number of reasons. Visible blood loss is more likely to occur with a cut of the skin that also severs a portion of the blood vessel. Internal bleeding is the term that is often used to describe bleeding within theĀ  body which is not visible from the exterior. Micro-tears occur in blood vessels throughout the body on a daily basis and is unrelated to trauma but these tears are so small that it can be quickly and easily dealt with no significant blood loss.