Thrombocytopenia is a condition of low count of platelets in the blood. Low count of platelets is an abnormal condition. Platelets are blood cells responsible for blood clotting. At least 150,000 platelets are usually present in one microliter of blood. In thrombocytopenia, there is a low number of platelets in the blood as compared to the normal level. Blood platelets bind to each other, leading to the formation of a blood clot. Platelets are small fragments of blood cells that otherwise circulate in the bloodstream.
Symptoms of Thrombocytopenia
Major signs and symptoms associated with thrombocytopenia range from mild to serious. Usually, a low platelet count may not cause clinical problems but may occasionally result in bruising. Bleeding due to thrombocytopenia is of two types: internal bleeding and external bleeding. Severe thrombocytopenia can cause bleeding in the entire body. This bleeding can be an emergency and should be treated immediately.
The first sign of thrombocytopenia may be external bleeding. This sign and symptom of thrombocytopenia may also cause red or purple blotches on the skin. Blood in the stools, headaches, and neurological symptoms are some of other signs of thrombocytopenia. Patients suffering from thrombotic thrombocytopenia purpura may also be affected by anemia as one of the symptoms of a low platelet count.
How Is Thrombocytopenia Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of thrombocytopenia is done using blood tests. Leukemia may be the cause of thrombocytopenia. Leukemia is a cancer of the bloodstream and bone marrow. Platelets form in the bone marrow. Dysfunction of the bone marrow may result from leukemia. The risk of bleeding increases with the decrease in the count of platelets due to thrombocytopenia. A low count of platelets may also affect patients suffering from HIV.
The comprehensive medical history of the patient is required to confirm whether the low platelet count is not the result of a secondary process. If the cause of low platelet count is unclear, a bone marrow biopsy is recommended. This can help to determine whether low platelet count is due to decreased production of platelets or due to peripheral destruction. In case of an extremely low platelet count, platelet transfusion may be needed. If the disease is not serious, treatment may not be required. Avoiding medications that may be the cause of the disease can sometimes help. The doctor can suggest the best treatment and methods to prevent this disease.
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