Thrombocytopenia. The condition doesn’t sound so bad. Low Platelets. It seems as though you have a low savings. You can’t buy that Snickers bar, you have low platelets. You can’t get the nice curtains, you have low platelets.
The problem is that not having enough platelets means that you might die.Here are the things you need to know about not having enough platelets (also known as thrombocytes) in your blood.
- Blood is composed of three different types of cells: red blood cells (which carry oxygen throughout the body), white blood cells (which help fight off infection), and platelets (which are clotting agents)
- If we have an insufficient number of platelets, any minor abrasion can turn into a major bleeding incident
- Platelets clog the cut, forcing the blood to stop flowing out (think of a game of Red Rover against the ‘85 Bears defense)
- Platelets, like all types of blood cells, are produced in bone marrow
- If your bone marrow is compromised, by vitamin deficiency or disease infection, the bone marrow may not be able to produce platelets quickly enough
- Platelets only live for about 10 days, so the bone marrow must constantly be restoring the body’s supply
Treatments include avoidance of activities where bruising or bleeding may occur, limiting alcohol consumption, transfusions of blood or platelets, pharmaceutical treatments, and a splenectomy
People with low platelets fall on a scale of severity. Mild cases may not require treatment at all, whereas severe cases may require constant medication and immediate professional help during episodes.
The good news is simple blood tests can confirm the number of platelets per million red blood cells. However, discovering the cause requires more intensive testing including bone marrow biopsies.
If your platelets are low, don’t brush it off as no big deal: Get busy working with your doctor to find the cause.
Learn more about low platelets by clicking here.