The platelets or thrombocytes play a very important role in the process of blood clotting, making it necessary to maintain an appropriate level of these in the body to remain healthy. An adult's normal level of platelets in the blood ranges between 150,000 and 450,000 per cubic millimeter. When they drop below 150,000 it is time to look into the causes of this decline, which may reflect various conditions. In OneHowTo.com we explain what the symptoms of low platelets are and what to do if your count is not adequate.
The condition where platelet counts are much lower than usual is known as thrombocytopenia.
The causes of low platelets can be varied and be signals for different diseases:
- Major infections
- Pathologies such as dengue fever, chikungunya or zika
- Conditions such as liver cirrhosis or aplastic anaemia
- Use of certain drugs or deficiency of vitamin B12 or folic acid.
- In more severe cases a low platelet may correspond to major diseases such as leukemia or myelodysplasia. However, it will always be necessary to have an exhaustive check-up to find the origin of this condition.
Because the causes of low platelets are varied, it is important to not become alarmed until we have taken tests and have discussed results with a hematologist. This is the right specialist to see to establish why you suffer from a decrease of platelets in the blood.
The symptoms of low platelets can vary from one person to another, but the most common are:
- Fatigue and tiredness. This occurs when the platelet count is slightly lower than 150,000. The weakness and lack of appetite are common signals in this first stage.
- Develop bruising at the slightest bump or knock. These bruises will be common and obvious, and will appear even if we haven't hit anything.
- Another clear sign of low platelets is in the skin, which will begin to show small boils that look similar to dermatitis. This will usually occur in the arms, back and torso, but may be along the entire body. Patients with dengue fever, chikungunya or zika usually present these signals.
- In more severe cases, in which the platelet count is 10,000 or less sufferers are at high risk of internal bleeding. Bleeding in the mouth, nose and gums will be common.
It is important to know that, depending on the cause, the decrease in platelets may bring additional symptoms. When levels are only slightly below average you may not present any symptoms, so that the condition goes unnoticed. This is common in situations of mild infections.
There are several ways to increase platelet levels but their effectiveness depend on the reason why we suffer from a decrease. For example in cases of dengue, mild infections, anaemia or vitamin B deficiency, it is easy to increase the platelet count, whereas if you suffer from leukemia or are having chemotherapy it may be more complex.
If you have low platelets you should consult a hematologist or your family doctor to determine the cause of this condition. Moreover, you can also read the following articles that may also be of interest:
This article is merely informative, OneHowTo does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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- Carry out blood tests regularly. It is the best way of knowing if there is something wrong with your health.