Platelets are the tiny blood cells that help form clots and stop bleeding. In the event that a blood vessel gets damaged, platelet the necessary signals to rush into the site of the damage and form a clot to begin repairing it. You can probably gather from this that they are a pretty important part of your body, and anything that affects their ability to do their job needs to be addresses immediately. One of these conditions is thrombocytopenia, a condition that affects children and adults all over the world. It might be useful for you to know the causes, symptoms and treatments for it. If you want to learn more, keep reading this article!
What is Thrombocytopenia?
Thrombocytopenia is a platelet disorder that can affect children as well as adults. Medically known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP, this condition is characterized by an abnormally low platelet count. It’s a difficult conditions to diagnose because it doesn’t really have any clear symptoms to identify it by, but you may notice excessive bleeding or an inability for a wound to clot or scab over. Bruising and nosebleeds are also common to patients, and they occur when platelets drop below 30,000 per microliter of blood.
Thrombocytopenia can be inherited or develop on its own, and it can be caused by your body not producing enough platelets in the first place or by something attacking the platelets. It can even by caused by some medications. The severity of the condition will depend on a number of factors and pre-existing conditions, including lupus, hereditary syndromes, sepsis, leukemia, dehydration and more.
What Causes Thrombocytopenia?
If, for whatever reason, your blood platelet count suddenly falls below normal levels, you will have thrombocytopenia. A normal platelet count is 150,000 to 450,000 platelets for each microliter of blood that is circulating. Because each of the blood platelets only lives about 10 days, the body continually renews the supply by producing new platelets via the bone marrow.
Thrombocytopenia can be inherited or be caused by other medical conditions, but no matter what the platelets will be condensed via one of the following processes:
- Increased destruction of platelets – various conditions may cause the body to use up or destroy platelets rapidly. These conditions include hemolytic uremic syndrome, blood bacteria and pregnancy.
- Decreased production of platelets –platelets come from the bone marrow, and low production can cause the condition.
- Platelets trapped in the spleen – an enlarged spleen may cause various disorders, thus causing a decrease in the number of platelets circulating in your blood.
The body might have a low platelet count because of the following causes:
- Medical conditions like a vitamin B12 deficiency, bone marrow conditions, leukemia, lympthoma and more
- Various treatments, like radiation treatment and heart bypass surgery
- Medications like chemotherapy, heparin and more
- Infections like sepsis, chicken pox, HIV and more
What are the Symptoms of Thrombocytopenia?
The signs and symptoms of thrombocytopenia include the following:
- Enlarged spleen
- Unusual heavy menstrual flow
- Blood in the stool and urine
- Bleeding from the nose and gums
- Prolonged bleeding of cuts
- Superficial bleeding, which appears like rashes, usually on the lower legs
- Purpura, or excessive bruising
Treatments for Thrombocytopenia
There are actually a lot of treatments for thrombocytopenia, but you need to work with your doctor to weigh all the pros and cons and find right therapy for you, as it depends on the severity of your case. If you have mild thrombocytopenia, you may only need regular checks of your platelet count. Below are some of the medications you may use to treat thrombocytopenia:
- Vinca alkaloids
- Thromboprotein receptor agonists
- Rho immune globulin
- Intravenous immune globulin
If you are not familiar with these treatments, you can also try some home treatments:
With proper care and management, you will be able to ward off thrombocytopenia easily.