Platelets perform a vital role in clotting. It is one of the components of the blood along with red blood cells and white blood cells. These components should be balanced in order to avoid complications in various parts of the body. There are cases, however, that the number of platelets in the body may become high or low. In this article, I will be focusing more on the causes of low platelet levels.
Generally, platelets have a lifespan of about 7 to 10 days and after that they are removed from the blood stream. Normal platelet count is usually around 150,000 to 450,000 per micro liter. Platelet count lower than 150,000 per micro liter is called thrombocytopenia. Low platelet count will mainly affect the clothing process in the body. When we are wounded, the platelets basically form clots on the wound to stop it from bleeding but if platelet count is very low, the clotting may process may take longer than expected and more blood will be spilled during that process.
The most known cause for low platelet count is decreased in platelet production. This is possibly because of complication in the bone marrow where platelets are formed. It can be viral infestations that caused the bone marrow to decrease its production of platelets like HIV viruses, mumps and hepatitis. Cancers may also cause decreased platelet production especially cancer of the bone marrow and some other organs. Since platelets are generally stored in the spleen, if there are abnormalities of the spleen like splenic sequestration (enlargement of the spleen), therefore the spleen may trap more platelets than the usual and it will probably affect the overall platelet count in the body. Taking chemotherapy drugs will also affect the bone marrow and so therefore affecting platelet production.
There are also cases that increased platelet consumption or destruction is the primary cause. This condition is mainly caused by medical drugs that affects platelets to either die out or removed from the body.
Alcoholic beverages can also influence platelet count. Long term alcohol intake increases the toxicity of the body and that includes the bone marrow. Increased toxicity levels make the body more prone to medical complications and there are possibilities that the production of platelets and other blood components may be affected.
Known symptoms include excessive bleeding when wounded, easy bruising, red spots on the legs and bleeding of a person’s gums and nose. Anyone who’s experiencing any of the symptoms must go to the hospital carefully and the patient must avoid getting hurt to avoid excessive bleeding.