Thrombocytopenia Information


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Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which there is a deficient number of circulating platelets. Platelets are cells in the blood that help blood to clot. This condition is sometimes associated with abnormal bleeding. The blood usually contains about 140,000 to 440,000 platelets per microliter. Bleeding can occur with relatively minor trauma when the platelet count falls below about 50,000 platelets per microliter of blood. Generally speaking a normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 and 450,000 per mm. Many factors can influence an individual's platelet count including exercise and racial origin. The average life span of a platelet in the blood is 10 days. Symptoms of Thrombocytopenia include bruising ,bleeding ,clotting failure ,petechiae (reddish purple spots) and bleeding into skin.

Thrombocytopenia often occurs as a result of a separate disease or disorder. Thrombocytopenia may be accompanied by varying degrees of anemia (low red blood cells) and leukopenia (low white blood cells). The most common causes of decreased platelet production are marrow aplasia (when the marrow is not developing naturally), fibrosis (an abnormal formation) or infiltration with malignant cells. Many common drugs can cause thrombocytopenia. Many chemotherapeutic agents are cytotoxic and depress megakaryocyte production. Ingestion of large quantities of alcohol has a similar marrow-depressing effect leading to transient thrombocytopenia. The syndrome is particularly common in binge drinkers. Dengue fever can cause thrombocytopenia.

In some situations, medications or surgery can help treat chronic thrombocytopenia. Corticosteroids may be used to increase platelet production. Lithium carbonate or folate may also be used to stimulate the bone marrow production of platelets. Platelet transfusions may be used to stop episodic abnormal bleeding caused by a low platelet count. However, if platelet destruction results from an immune disorder, platelet infusions may have only a minimal effect and may be reserved for life-threatening bleeding. Splenectomy may be necessary to correct thrombocytopenia caused by platelet destruction. A splenectomy should significantly reduce platelet destruction because the spleen acts as the primary site of platelet removal and antibody production.

Thrombocytopenia Treatment and Prevention Tips

1. Avoid alcoholic beverages.

2. Avoid medications, such as aspirin, and herbal supplements.

3. Use a very soft toothbrush when cleaning teeth; and avoid brushing vigorously.

4. Try to avoid injury when using tools, scissors, needles, knives, or when shaving.

5. Avoid or curtail activities that might result in injury, including sexual activity.

6. Corticosteroids may be used to increase platelet production.

7. Platelet transfusions may be used to stop episodic abnormal bleeding.

8. When cleaning your nose avoid blowing your nose, or blow very gently into a soft tissue.

9. Lithium carbonate or folate may also be used to stimulate the bone marrow production of platelets.

Juliet Cohen writes articles for Diseases. She also writes articles for Makeup and Hairstyles.

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