Platelets are small tissues that circulate in the body. The medical name for platelets is thrombocytes, and they are necessary for fighting infections and blood clotting. The platelet level differs from person to person, and the normal count ranges from 1,50,000 - 4,00,000/microliters. If the counts drops lower than 1,50,000, it is regarded as a low blood platelet count, and the condition is also known as thrombocytopenia. Based on the count, it occurs in three levels, namely: mild, moderate, and severe. When the platelets are in the range of 1,00,000 - 1,50,000/microliters, 50,000 - 1,00,000/microliters, and less than 50,000, then the condition is considered as mild, moderate, and severe respectively. Based on the level, appropriate medications are suggested.
Generally, when one sees the blood test report, a number of figures are given. You are supposed to show the report to the doctor in order to avoid misinterpreting the results. Then, he/she will give you the shortest possible explanation of the blood report.
☛ Platelets are produced by the bone marrow in the body. If a person is affected by a bone marrow disorder, then the bone marrow does not produce enough platelets, and this results in a decreased platelet count.
☛ Another possible cause is the enlargement of spleen. This condition is seen in myelofibrosis and some forms of cirrhosis. If the spleen enlarges, the blood platelets get trapped inside, resulting in lowering their number in the bloodstream.
☛ Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a condition in which an abnormal amount of antibodies is produced by the immune system. These antibodies destroy the body's platelets. The reason for the production of these antibodies is yet unknown.
☛ Heparin can also cause a low platelet count. Heparin is a drug that is prescribed in the treatment of conditions like thrombosis. Though this drug is prescribed to avoid blood clots, it can sometimes work adversely and stimulate the formation of blood clots instead. If this happens, a large number of platelets get used up, which causes their count to diminish.
☛ In diseases like lupus and HIV, the body can destroy or use up too many platelets, resulting in a low blood platelet count.
☛ Aplastic anemia is a disorder of the blood in which the body stops making enough new blood cells.
☛ An infection of the hepatitis C virus is another cause of low platelet count, as it reduces the platelets in the blood stream.
☛ Besides these, the other probable causes include chemotherapy, chronic liver diseases, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and alcoholism.
☛ One of the most obvious symptoms of low blood platelets is bleeding. The nose, gums, or the cheeks inside the mouth bleed for no reason. Also, if one gets afflicted even with a small wound, the bleeding does not stop for a long time.
☛ Bleeding inside the body is also possible (internal bleeding). The main symptom of internal bleeding caused due to purpura is red or purple discolorations on the skin.
☛ Reddish purple spots on the body, which appear like rash, are also a symptom. These spots are called petechiae.
☛ Women with low blood platelet count experience heavy bleeding during menstruation.
☛ Tiredness, easy bruising, and uncertainty or unnecessary fear can also be another symptom.
☛ If the count has lowered because of some specific drug, doctors suggest a substitute drug. In cases where the antibodies destroy the platelets, corticosteroids such as prednisone are suggested temporarily. And when the decreased platelet count is because of spleen trapping, then the spleen can be surgically removed.
You can avoid a drastic drop in the platelet level by consuming leafy vegetables and fruits like bananas and oranges. Making the bone marrow stronger by adding calcium in your diet through milk and dairy products is another great way to avoid this problem.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.