What does it mean when platelet count is low


Thrombocytopenia is a condition where you have a low number of platelets in your blood. Platelets (thrombocytes) are colorless blood cells that help blood to clot. platelets stop bleeding by clumping together and forming plugs in blood vessel injuries.

Thrombocytopenia can occur as a result of a bone marrow disorder such as leukemia or a problem with the immune system. or it may be a side effect of taking certain medications. it affects both children and adults.

Thrombocytopenia may be mild and cause few signs or symptoms. In rare cases, the number of platelets can be so low that dangerous internal bleeding occurs. treatment options are available.


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Signs and symptoms of thrombocytopenia may include:

  • easy or excessive bruising (purpura)
  • superficial bleeding in the skin that appears as a rash of pin-sized, reddish-purple spots (petechiae), usually on the lower legs
  • prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • bleeding from the gums or nose
  • blood in urine or stool
  • unusually heavy menstrual flow
  • fatigue
  • enlarged spleen
  • when to see a doctor

    Make an appointment with your doctor if you have signs of thrombocytopenia that worry you.

    Bleeding that does not stop is a medical emergency. seek immediate help for bleeding that cannot be controlled with usual first aid techniques, such as applying pressure to the area.


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    Thrombocytopenia means you have fewer than 150,000 platelets per microliter of circulating blood. Because each platelet lives for only about 10 days, your body normally continually renews its supply of platelets by making new platelets in your bone marrow.

    thrombocytopenia is rarely inherited; or it can be caused by a number of medications or conditions. Whatever the cause, circulating platelets are reduced by one or more of the following: platelet trapping in the spleen, decreased platelet production, or increased platelet destruction.

    trapped platelets

    The spleen is a small, fist-sized organ located just below the rib cage on the left side of the abdomen. Normally, your spleen works to fight infection and filter unwanted material from your blood. An enlarged spleen, which can be caused by a number of disorders, can hold too many platelets, reducing the number of circulating platelets.

    decreased platelet production

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    Platelets are produced in the bone marrow. Factors that can decrease platelet production include:

    • leukemia and other types of cancer
    • some types of anemia
    • viral infections, such as hepatitis c or hiv
    • chemotherapy and radiotherapy drugs
    • excessive alcohol consumption
    • increased breakdown of platelets

      Some conditions can cause your body to use up or destroy platelets faster than they are produced, leading to a shortage of platelets in your bloodstream. examples of such conditions include:

      • pregnancy. Thrombocytopenia caused by pregnancy is usually mild and improves shortly after delivery.
      • Immune thrombocytopenia. Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, cause this type. the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys platelets. If the exact cause of this condition is not known, it is called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. this type most often affects children.
      • Bacteria in the blood. Serious bacterial infections that affect the blood (bacteremia) can destroy platelets.
      • thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. This is a rare condition that occurs when small blood clots suddenly form throughout the body, consuming large numbers of platelets.
      • Hemolytic uremic syndrome. This rare disorder causes a sharp drop in platelets, destruction of red blood cells, and impaired kidney function.
      • Medications. Certain medications can lower the number of platelets in your blood. Sometimes a drug confuses the immune system and causes it to destroy platelets. examples include heparin, quinine, sulfa-containing antibiotics, and anticonvulsants.
      • complications

        Dangerous internal bleeding can occur when the platelet count falls below 10,000 platelets per microliter. Although rare, severe thrombocytopenia can cause bleeding in the brain, which can be fatal.

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