Low platelet count in the body can lead to easy bruising and bleeding. Various factors, including medical conditions, immune system disorders, or certain medications, can cause it. Symptoms may include prolonged bleeding, nosebleeds, and dark stools.
Low Platelet Count, also known as thrombocytopenia, happens when there is a low count of platelets in the bloodstream. Each day our bone marrow creates millions of platelets to help the body repair damaged blood vessels. When platelets are not enough, individuals may experience easy bruising and bleeding, even from minor injuries. The risk of bleeding is particularly heightened in areas such as the mouth, nose, and gastrointestinal tract.
Normal platelet levels can vary but typically range between 150,000 and 300,000 platelets per cubic millimetre (mm3) of blood. A platelet count below 150,000/mm3 indicates the presence of thrombocytopenia. Taking a Complete Blood Count Test (CBC test) is the best approach to check the levels.
Causes of Low Platelet Count:
There are various reasons to have a low platelet count:
- Low platelet production: Certain medical conditions, like blood cancers such as leukaemia or lymphoma, affect the bone marrow’s ability to make enough platelets.
- Increased platelet destruction or usage: Certain autoimmune diseases like immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis can make the immune system attack and destroy platelets.
- Platelet trapping in the spleen: The spleen can restrict platelets from circulating in the body. This can reduce the number available in the bloodstream.
Other conditions that can cause low platelet count are bacteria (infection) in the blood, pregnancy, and certain medications such as sulfa-containing antibiotics, heparin, quinine and anticonvulsants.
Symptoms of Low Platelet Count
The symptoms of low platelet count can vary. They depend upon the severity of the condition. If you feel you have the symptoms, you could get yourself tested. A home collection CBC test can help you give your blood and receive the results from the comfort of your home.
Some common symptoms include:
- Prolonged bleeding from cuts or injuries
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Bleeding gums
- Dark or bloody stools
- Pink or bloody urine
- Blood in vomit
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Red, purple, or brown spots on the skin
- Rectal bleeding
Complications of Low Platelet Count
Severe low platelet count can cause the following problems:
- Internal severe bleeding: Low platelet count makes it more likely to have bleeding in the stomach, intestines, or brain, which can be very dangerous.
- Heart attack: Low platelet count can reduce the amount of blood flowing to the heart, which may increase the risk of a heart attack.
What are Normal Platelet Levels?
Platelet Levels (per microliter of blood)
150,000 – 450,000
101,000 – 140,000
51,000 – 100,000
51,000 – 21,000
Diagnosis and Tests for Low Platelet Count
To diagnose low platelet count, healthcare providers may perform the following tests:
- Complete blood count (CBC): The CBC test measures platelet levels and counts of white and red blood cells.
- Peripheral blood smear: This test is done to see the microscopic examination of platelets to assess their shape and appearance.
- Blood clot tests: These tests measure the time it takes for blood to clot. They include the partial thromboplastin time (PTT) and prothrombin time (PT) tests.
- Bone marrow biopsy: If blood tests indicate a low platelet count, a bone marrow biopsy may be conducted to evaluate the bone marrow’s ability to produce platelets.
Management and Treatment of Low Platelet Count
Healthcare providers consider the underlying cause and severity of the condition to manage and treat low platelet counts. Treatment options include:
- Treating the underlying cause: Healthcare providers focus on addressing the medical condition or discontinuing medications that may be causing thrombocytopenia.
- Steroids: Medications such as steroids may be prescribed to stimulate the production of platelets.
- Blood transfusion: In severe cases with significantly low platelet levels, transfusions may be administered to increase platelet counts temporarily.
- Splenectomy: Surgical removal of the spleen may be recommended if it is trapping an excessive number of platelets.
Preventive Measures for Low Platelet Count
Here are some tips to reduce the risk:
- Communicate with healthcare providers: Inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions you have or medications you’re taking that may affect your platelet levels. This will help them monitor your health and take appropriate measures.
- Make lifestyle changes: If you’re a smoker, quitting smoking is important because smoking increases the risk of blood clots. Additionally, it’s advisable to drink alcohol in moderation.
- Be cautious with over-the-counter medications: Certain over-the-counter medications containing ibuprofen or aspirin can thin the blood and affect platelet function. Before taking any supplements or herbal remedies, consult with your healthcare provider.
- Avoid strenuous activities: Engage in low-risk activities and avoid contact sports that may lead to injuries and bleeding.
In conclusion, a low platelet count can raise the chances of experiencing problems like excessive bleeding and bruising. The risk of internal bleeding or heart attack increases when this becomes severe. Knowing why your platelet levels are low is crucial if you have this condition.
Affordable CBC Test Price:
A CBC test is one of the most valuable tests for assessing the platelet count. When considering the CBC test price, it’s essential to choose a reliable and affordable option. You can book an affordable CBC Test from Apollo 24|7 to provide a sample from the comfort of your home and receive the results within six hours.