Blood is made up of several types of cells. These cells float in a liquid called plasma. The types of blood cells are:
- red blood cells
- white blood cells
- platelets, or thrombocytes
When your skin is injured or broken, platelets clump together and form clots to stop the bleeding. When you don’t have enough platelets in your blood, your body cannot form clots.
Low Platelet Count
A low platelet count may also be called thrombocytopenia. This condition can range from mild to severe, depending on its underlying cause. For some, the symptoms can include severe bleeding and are possibly fatal if they’re not treated. Other people may not experience any symptoms.
Typically, a low platelet count is the result of a medical condition, like leukemia. The treatment usually addresses the condition causing the thrombocytopenia.
What Are the Symptoms of a Low Platelet Count?
Whether or not you experience symptoms of a low platelet count depends on your platelet count.
Mild cases, such as when a low platelet count is caused by pregnancy, usually don’t cause any symptoms. More severe cases may cause uncontrollable bleeding, which requires immediate medical attention.
If you have a low platelet count, you may experience:
- red, purple, or brown bruises, which are called purpura (चित्तिता)
- a rash with small red or purple dots called petechiae (रुधिरांक)
- bleeding gums
- bleeding from wounds that lasts for a prolonged period or doesn’t stop on its own
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- bleeding from the rectum
- blood in the stools
- blood in the urine
In more serious cases, you may bleed internally. The symptoms of internal bleeding include:
- blood in the urine
- blood in the stool
- bloody or very dark vomit
- bleeding in your brain
Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any signs of internal bleeding.
Rarely, the condition may lead to bleeding in your brain. If you have a low platelet count and experience headaches or any neurological problems, consult your doctor.
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What Are the Causes of a Low Platelet Count?
Your bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside the bone. It’s where all the components of blood, including platelets, are produced. If your bone marrow isn’t producing enough platelets, you’ll have a low platelet count. The causes of low platelet production include:
- aplastic anemia
- a vitamin B-12 deficiency
- a folate deficiency
- an iron deficiency
- viral infections, including HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, and chickenpox
- exposure to chemotherapy, radiation, or toxic chemicals
- consuming too much alcohol
- Dengue fever
Low platelet count doesn’t always mean dengue
A low platelet count may not necessarily indicate dengue. A common viral fever and cold can bring down platelet count in blood. Many viral fevers are not matter of concern even if the platelet count shows low.
What is normal blood count or Platelet count?
Platelets also constitute an important component in the hematological picture of the patient. An escalated and uncontrolled platelet count may indicate disease progression and is cause for concern. In general, with appropriate treatment, platelet levels should fall within the normal range (1.50 to 4.00 lacs/cmm) without platelet-lowering medication.
A complete blood count is a common blood test that’s done for a variety of reasons:
To review your overall health. Your doctor may recommend a complete blood count as part of a routine medical examination to monitor your general health and to screen for a variety of disorders, such as anemia or leukemia.
To diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor may suggest a complete blood count if you’re experiencing weakness, fatigue, fever, inflammation, bruising or bleeding. A complete blood count may help diagnose the cause of these signs and symptoms. If your doctor suspects you have an infection, the test can also help confirm that diagnosis.
To monitor a medical condition. If you’ve been diagnosed with a blood disorder that affects blood cell counts, your doctor may use complete blood counts to monitor your condition.
To monitor medical treatment. A complete blood count may be used to monitor your health if you’re taking medications that may affect blood cell counts.
To diagnose low platelets count condition, your doctor needs to do a complete blood count (CBC) test. This blood test looks at the amount of all blood cells in your blood.
Your doctor may also order blood-clotting tests, which includes partial thromboplastin time (PTT) and prothrombin time (PT). These tests simply require a sample of your blood. Certain chemicals will be added to the sample to determine how long it takes your blood to clot.