The Online Health Advice to Thrombocytopenia
What stops your blood to clot?
Learn everything you need to know more about Thrombocytopenia.
Introduction to Low Platelets Count
If you ride a bicycle down the street and accidentally ran over a nail, the result will be a flat tire. These small tears in bicycle tires can be fixed with a simple patch kit, which consists of a round piece of rubber and some glue.
Blood Platelets Count
In the same way, your body has its own patch kit that it uses to repair your blood vessels when they get tears. These patch kit are circulating cell fragments made up of platelets and help with blood clotting.
These tiny platelets are produced in the bone marrow and then sent into circulation where they drift around until they are called into action by a break somewhere in the blood vessel wall. These platelets are very good at stopping the bleeding. Thanks to the platelets for their ability to gather and stick together.
But if your blood does not have enough platelets and you may have trouble controlling bleeding then you have a condition called thrombocytopenia.
What is Thrombocytopenia?
Reduced platelet content in the blood is not always a serious problem but, the condition affects the ability of the blood to clot and wounds can bleed severely with this condition. This can lead to serious complications in some cases.
A low platelet count is a blood disorder that has a long list of possible causes and is popularly known as thrombocytopenia. Platelets or thrombocytes are colorless blood cells that help a blood to clot. They stop bleeding by clumping and forming plugs in injuries of the blood vessel.
Improve your Blood Platelets Count
Thrombocytopenia is a medical disorder in which a person suffers from a low level of blood platelets. Platelets (or thrombocytes) are colorless blood cells that help blood to clot and stop bleeding by clumping and forming plugs in the wounds of the blood vessels.
It often occurs as a result of various disorders such as leukemia or an immune system problem. It may be a side effect of taking a certain medication and this condition affects both children and adults. It can be a mild and cause few signs or symptoms. In rare cases, the platelets count may occur dangerous internal bleeding.
Thrombocytopenia signs and symptoms may include:
- Easy or excessive bruising (purpura)
- Superficial bleeding into the skin that appears as a rash on lower legs
- Prolonged bleeding from cuts
- Bleeding from your gums or nose
- Blood in urine or stools
- Unusually heavy menstrual flows
- Enlarged spleen
What causes platelets to drop?
- Viral infections (including chickenpox, parvovirus, hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr, and HIV)
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Drug-induced immune thrombocytopenia
- Sepsis, a severe bacterial infection in your blood
- Helicobacter pylori
- Medication side effects, including drugs for heart problems, seizures, and infections
- Heparin, a blood thinner used to prevent blood clots
- Heart bypass surgery
- Radiation treatment on your bone marrow
- Blood cancer such as leukemia or lymphoma
- A problem with your bone marrow, like toxicity from drinking too much alcohol
- Vitamin B12 or folate (vitamin B9) deficiency
- 5% of healthy women get it during pregnancy and gets better on its own after your baby is born
- An enlarged spleen
- Your body uses too many platelets, leaving you without enough of them. This happens frequently if you have an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
- Rare disorders like hemolytic uremic syndrome and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), which uses a lot of platelets to make small blood clots throughout your body
What causes the increased breakdown of platelets?
Various causes exist due to which your body to use up or destroy platelets more rapidly than they are produced, leading to a shortage of platelets in your bloodstream
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy may cause mild thrombocytopenia
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP): ITP is a medical condition where your body’s immune system mistakenly identifies platelets as a threat and produces antibodies that attack them
- Autoimmune diseases: the Autoimmune disease is a disease where your body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue which results in thrombocytopenia
- Bacteria in the blood: Bacterial infection in your blood (bacteremia) may lead to the destruction of platelets
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP): In TTP small blood clots suddenly form throughout your body, using up the large numbers of platelets
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome: It is a rare disorder which causes a sharp drop in platelets, destruction of red blood cells and impairment of kidney function.
- Medications: Certain medications exists which confuses the immune system and causing it to destroy platelets which can reduce the number of platelets.
Self-care for people with thrombocytopenia
Here are natural remedies to increase platelet count fast. These home remedies for Thrombocytopenia to improve low platelet count. Read now blood platelets tips will help you avoid bleeding:
- Ask your doctor before drinking alcohol or taking new medications. These can make bleeding problems worse.
- Use an extra soft toothbrush. And do not floss if your gums bleed.
- Blow your nose gently using a soft tissue.
- Be careful when using scissors, knives, needles, or other sharp tools.
- Take steps to prevent burns while cooking.
- Shave with an electric razor.
- Avoid contact sports and other activities that might cause injury.
- Use a nail file with rounded ends instead of a clipper when grooming fingernails and toenails
Risk factors associated with thrombocytopenia
- Have certain types of cancer
- Have Aplastic anemia, or autoimmune diseases
- Are exposed to certain toxic chemicals
- Have a reaction to certain medicines
- Have certain viruses
- Have certain genetic conditions
Steps to prevent health problems associated with thrombocytopenia
- Avoid heavy drinking. Alcohol slows the production of platelets
- Try to avoid contacts with toxic chemicals like pesticides, arsenic, and benzene which can slow the production of platelets
- Avoid medicines that you know have decreased your platelet count in the past
- Be aware of medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen that may affect your platelets and raise your risk of bleeding and this may thin your blood too much
- Talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated for viruses that can affect your platelets and you may need vaccines for mumps, measles, rubella, and chickenpox.
What to Do If Bleeding Starts
- Have a seat or lie down. Try to remain calm
- Apply pressure to the wound if you can see it
- Apply an ice pack to the site to slow the bleeding
- If the wound is on an arm or leg, elevate the limb above the level of your heart
- If you notice blood in your urine, keep drinking increased fluids and report to your doctor
- If you notice blood in your vomit, take your antinausea and stomach antacids as directed by your doctor
- If you are bleeding vaginally or having your period, do not use tampons. Keep track of no of sanitary pads you are using and note any clots
- Keep your mouth clean and moist
- Brush your teeth gently with a soft bristle toothbrush and if you cannot use a toothbrush, use a sponge toothette to clean your teeth and gums
- Rinse your mouth after each meal with a baking soda solution (2 tsp. baking soda to 8 oz. water).
- Do not use dental floss.
- Avoid any commercial mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Alcohol can dry out your mouth, which may lead to bleeding.
- Use petroleum jelly or other lip balms to keep your lips moist and to prevent cracking.
- Take sips of water or juice frequently if your tongue or mouth feels dry.
- Modify feminine hygiene practices:
- Use sanitary napkins rather than tampons during menstruation.
- Avoid vaginal douching
What are the other general precautions I can follow?
- Do not cough forcefully or harshly. Notify your doctor or nurse to recommend a cough syrup in case of a persistent cough
- Do not blow your nose too hard
- Avoid straining too much with bowel movements
- If you have a problem with constipation, take a stool softener or laxative to make it easier
- Do not use rectal thermometers, suppositories or enemas
- Use an electric razor for shaving
- Do not have any dental work or cleaning before talking to your oncologist
- Do not take any medications that affect blood clotting
- Do not take aspirin or any product that contains aspirin
Your doctor will diagnose thrombocytopenia based on your previous medical history, a physical exam, and test results. A hematologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating blood diseases and conditions will more likely to be involved in your care. Once thrombocytopenia is diagnosed he may begin looking for its cause.
Your doctor may ask regarding the factors which affect your platelets, such as:
- The counter medicines and herbal remedies which you take
- Whether you drink beverages that contain quinine
- Your general eating habits
- The amount of alcohol you normally drink
- Your risk for AIDS, including questions about blood transfusions, sexual partners etc
- Any family history of low platelet counts
Your doctor will perform a physical exam to look into the signs and symptoms of bleeding, such as bruises or spots on the skin. He or she will check your abdomen to see the signs of an enlarged spleen or liver. You will also be checked for certain signs of infection, such as a fever.
The following test may be recommended by your doctor to diagnose a low platelet count.
Complete Blood Count
A small amount of blood is drawn from a blood vessel, usually in your arm to measure the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in your blood. The results of this test will show that your platelet count is low if you have thrombocytopenia.
A small amount of blood is drawn from a blood vessel; usually in your arm to check the appearance of your platelets under a microscope.
Bone Marrow Tests
This test is to check whether your bone marrow is healthy because Blood cells, including platelets, are made here. These two bone marrow tests and biopsy. Bone marrow aspiration is done to find out why your bone marrow is not making enough blood cells.
During this test, the doctor may remove a sample of fluid bone marrow through a needle and examines the sample under a microscope to check for faulty cells.
A bone marrow biopsy often is done right after an aspiration during which your doctor removes a sample of bone marrow tissue through a needle and examines the tissue to check the number and nature of cells present in the bone marrow.
- The doctor may recommend PT and PTT tests to see whether your blood is clotting properly or not
- He may suggest an ultrasound to check your spleen and to see whether your spleen is enlarged
How is thrombocytopenia treated?
If your doctor feels that there is no serious threat to your health, he or she may choose not to treat thrombocytopenia. Treatment for thrombocytopenia depends on the cause and the effect it has on your health. For example,
- Your doctor may switch you to another medication if you are taking a medication that causes thrombocytopenia
- Your doctor may prescribe steroids, immunoglobulin, or other medications if the cause for thrombocytopenia is problems with your immune system
- He may suggest platelet transfusion if your platelet count is extremely low
- In some cases, the doctor may remove the patient spleen in order to keep it from destroying platelets. The spleen helps the body fight against infections, removing it may place the person at higher risk for certain types of infections. However several vaccinations are given before the splenectomy to help prevent infection
When to Call the Doctor
Call your healthcare provider if you have:
- A headache, confusion, or dizziness
- Blood when you cough, or difficulty breathing
- Bloody urine, vomit, or bowel movements
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause OR unusually heavy vaginal bleeding
Questions you need to ask your doctor
- How many platelets do I have in my blood?
- Is my platelet count dangerously low?
- What is causing my thrombocytopenia?
- Do I need more tests?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What are my treatment options?
- What will happen if I do nothing?
- What are the possible side effects of the treatments you’re suggesting?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Can you prescribe any generic alternative to the medicine?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me?
- What websites do you recommend?
What are Platelets?
Platelets are the cell that helps blood to clot. These are usually produced in bone marrow. It is very important to have enough platelets in your blood because each cell has a different job to do.
When does Thrombocytopenia happen?
- When the body does not make enough platelets.
- The body loses platelets
- The body destroys platelets
What are the rare causes of thrombocytopenia?
- Prostate or breast cancer
- Spleen cahomencer
Which food increases platelet count?
Here is the list of food which can increase the platelet count
- Fresh Milk
- Foods that contain Vitamin K
- Lean Meats
- Papaya Leaves
How much platelets count is normal in dengue?
The normal count of platelets is 1.5 lakh to 4.5 lakh per microlitre of blood, but during viral fever, it reduces up to 90,000 to one lakh. During Dengue this count may goes down to 20,000 or even lower and reaches the normal once dengue is cured.
What are the common causes of low platelet count?
- Bone Marrow Problems
- Platelet destruction
What is the normal range of platelets in human?
The normal range for platelets is 150,000–300,000/ mm3. A person has Thrombocytopenia if his platelets count is less than 150,000 mm3.
How platelets relate to cardiovascular disease?
If you have too many platelets, then the risk for clotting will be more. But often your cardiovascular risk has more to do with the platelet function rather than the platelet number. You can have a healthy number of platelets, but if they are sticking together too much it can increase your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
What is the treatment for thrombocytopenia in children?
Your doctor may determine specific treatment for thrombocytopenia will be determined based on:
- Your baby’s gestational age, overall health, and medical history
- The extent of the disease
- Your baby’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinion or preference
What are the symptoms of drug-induced Thrombocytopenia?
- Extended, continuous and unusual bleeding
- Bleeding from gums while brushing your teeth
- Sensitivity to injury and bruises
- Petechiae: pale or purple spots in the skin
Excessive-bleeding after small surgical procedures.