Platelets are the cell fragments that form a part of your blood that helps with clot formation at the site of a wound. These are produced along with red and white blood cells in the bone marrow which is a sponge-like tissue. Platelets also known as thrombocytes serve as a natural protection against bleeding.
Function of Platelets
Platelets are the small colorless cells that are spread across your blood and form an essential part of the plasma. Their function is to stop the wounds or cuts on your body from bleeding excessively. When you injure yourself accidentally, the blood vessels of the wounded area might get damaged, and as a result, bleeding happens. To stop the blood loss, the blood vessels around the injured surface will send signals to the platelets for initiating clot formation. The platelets then reach the site and cluster together to seal the damaged blood vessels which prevent blood loss. The platelets are shaped like plates with a sticky outer layer that helps them to bind to the blood vessels by spreading their tentacles. In this way, the platelets aggregate around the wound, seal the damaged blood vessels through a coagulation cascade and prevent excess blood from leaving the body.
Normal Platelet Count
The platelet count can be found through a common test that measures platelets per microliter of blood. A normal platelet count ranges between 150,000 to 450,000 per microliter of blood. When your platelet count falls below 150,000 per microliter of blood, it is termed thrombocytopenia or low platelet count whereas if it exceeds 450,000, then the condition is termed thrombocytosis or high platelet count.
Low Platelet Count or Thrombocytopenia
Thrombocytopenia is a condition wherein the individual has a low platelet count. It might be a result of a bone marrow disorder such as an autoimmune disorder or leukemia. Its symptoms can be of mild category, including:
- Prolonged and excessive bleeding from cuts and wounds
- Blood passing through urine or stools
- Easy bruising (purpura)
- Rashes and red or purple-colored spot pigmentation on the skin
- Heavy menstrual flows
- Enlarged spleen
- Bleeding gums and nosebleeds
In addition, if the platelet count falls too low, then it can lead to internal bleeding in the brain which can have life-threatening consequences.
What Causes Thrombocytopenia?
- Autoimmune disorders – Also termed immune thrombocytopenia, wherein the immune system diseases cause the body to attack its cells and tissues and thus lower the blood platelet count.
- Cancer – Cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma can majorly contribute to low platelet count as it damages the bone marrow and in turn affects the production of platelets.
- Anemia – Iron deficiency anemia and aplastic anemia can deplete the platelet count in the blood as they prevent your body from producing new blood cells.
- Viruses and infections – The destruction of platelets can develop as a result of several viral infections such as HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, measles, etc. Also, some bacteria, parasites, and fungi can lead to dangerous infections like sepsis which can lower your platelet counts to ridiculous levels. Such a condition can be fatal.
- Medications – Some anticoagulant drugs tend to lower your blood cell counts which impacts the production of red, or white blood cells and platelets.
- Chemotherapy – It is an extremely difficult treatment that can hinder your body’s ability to produce new blood cells.
- Pregnancy – A female body goes through an extreme transformation during pregnancy. Some chemical changes in the body can lead to the breakdown of blood cells and platelets.
High Blood Count or Thrombocytosis
In this condition, your body produces too many platelets which could be due to some underlying infection or sometimes there might not be even an apparent cause. There are two types – essential thrombocytosis and reactive thrombocytosis. Reactive thrombocytosis is also known as secondary thrombocytosis which results after an underlying medical condition like:
- Extreme blood loss
- Autoimmune disorders
- Inflammatory disorders
- Surgical procedures
- Removal of the spleen
The spleen is responsible for storing most of the platelets. The removal of this organ can cause the scattering of platelets in the bloodstream. As a result, the blood contains a higher count of platelets leading to thrombocytosis after spleen removal.
Furthermore, essential thrombocytosis is a condition that is quite rare as it occurs without any apparent reason. The condition causes an increase in the levels of platelets in the blood which leads to clot formation in the blood vessels that potentiates the risk of heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary disorders. Moreover, the symptoms of thrombocytosis include headache, chest pain, breathing problems, confusion, nausea, weakness, and burning pain in the hands and feet.
According to the World Journal of Men’s Health (2013), the platelet count in men with vasculogenic erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is comparatively high. Vasculogenic erectile dysfunction occurs due to the impairment of the blood vessels that carry blood to the reproductive organs of men. Fildena 100 is one of the best medicines to treat ED issues in men. A high count of platelets can accelerate clot or plaque formation in the passages of the penile blood vessels and hinder the flow of blood to the penile, thereby affecting erection function.
When to See Your Doctor
If you see the signs and symptoms of abnormal platelet count, make an appointment with your healthcare provider as low or high platelet count, both linked to dangerous side effects. They will suggest some diagnostic tests for assessing the exact count. Once the test results are obtained discuss the treatment options, consequences, and outcomes of the treatment with them.
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