What is Thrombocytopenia

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Thrombocytopenia is not usually diagnosed as other health conditions. People usually come to the doctor with a low platelet count and through blood tests, discover that they may have thrombocytopenia. 

What is Thrombocytopenia?

The full formal name for thrombocytopenia is Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). The main characteristic of this disorder is an abnormally low platelet count in the blood. Platelets are the small blood cells that clump together to form clots at the site of wounds and stop bleeding. When a blood vessel is damaged, the platelets rush to the spot of injury to stop bleeding, so the repair can begin.

According to the American Family Physician, thrombocytopenia is when the body has a platelet count of less than 150 X 103 per μL. Usually, it gets diagnosed through a blood test report done for other health conditions.

Symptoms

It can be difficult to diagnose someone with ITP because there are no clear symptoms. However, these could be possible symptoms for the health condition:

  • External bleeding may be more common, along with an inability for wounds to clot or scab over.
  • Nosebleeds and bruising are also much more common.
  • When the platelet count drops to below 30,000 platelets/microliter of blood, spontaneous bruising can occur on the arms and legs.
  • Other common symptoms include general malaise or weakness.

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Causes

Thrombocytopenia can be inherited or developed, and there are a number of causes behind this condition. Either the platelets are not being produced, or they are being destroyed in high numbers. Certain medications can also cause ITP. These variations of ITP can manifest for many different reasons, including dehydration, leukemia, sepsis, hereditary syndromes, lupus, or Lyme Disease, among many others.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of the case, but stimulating corticosteroids are often used to boost platelet production. Folate is also recommended to increase the production of platelets by the bone marrow. However, many people prefer a more natural approach to health, and there are plenty of alternative strategies to treat thrombocytopenia.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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