Overview Of Low Platelet Count – Thrombocytopenia
Low Platelet Count – Thrombocytopenia is any disorder in which there is an abnormally low amount of platelets. Platelets are parts of the blood that help the blood to clot. This condition is sometimes associated with abnormal bleeding.
Commonly Associated With
Causes Of Low Platelet Count – Thrombocytopenia
Thrombocytopenia is often divided into 3 major causes of low platelets:
- Not enough platelets are made in the bone marrow
- Increased breakdown of platelets in the bloodstream
- Increased breakdown of platelets in the spleen or liver
Your bone marrow may not make enough platelets if you have any of the following conditions:
- Aplastic anemia (disorder in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells)
- Cancer in the bone marrow, such as leukemia
- Cirrhosis (liver scarring)
- Folate deficiency
- Infections in the bone marrow (very rare)
- Myelodysplastic syndrome (bone marrow does not make enough blood cells or makes defective cells)
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Use of certain drugs may also lead to low production of platelets in the bone marrow. The most common example is chemotherapy treatment.
The following health conditions cause the increased breakdown of platelets:
- Disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting become overactive, most often during a serious illness (DIC)
- Drug-induced low platelet count
- Enlarged spleen
- Disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets (ITP)
- A disorder that causes blood clots to form in small blood vessels, causing a low platelet count (TTP)
Symptoms Of Low Platelet Count – Thrombocytopenia
You may not have any symptoms. Or you may have general symptoms, such as:
- Bleeding in the mouth and gums
- Rash (pinpoint red spots called petechiae)
- Other symptoms depend on the cause.
Exams & Tests
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history and symptoms.
The following tests may be done:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Blood clotting tests (PTT and PT)
- Other tests that may help diagnose this condition include bone marrow aspiration or biopsy.
Treatment of low platelet count – thrombocytopenia depends on the cause of the condition. In some cases, a transfusion of platelets may be required to stop or prevent bleeding.