Know the facts of your platelets

Know the facts of your platelets

Platelets are one of the cells present in the blood, which are produced from bone marrow, and help blood to clot.

Platelets are one of the cells present in the blood, which are produced from bone marrow, and help blood to clot.

There are various reasons why one can get low platelets. They can be low for temporary period or for longer periods. Generally speaking, knowing the cause why one has low platelets is important, as it can be associated with serious blood conditions like blood cancers.

This can be easily ruled out by looking at a blood smear under the microscope by an experienced person. One needs to consult a specialist in blood called Haematologistto to ensure no serious conditions are causing the decreasing number of platelets.

People with low platelets have symptoms only when the levels are very low. However, not all patients with low platelets need platelet transfusions. Transfusion is done only if someone is bleeding or there is risk of bleeding.

Causes of low platelets include infections like dengue, malaria, viral infections, vitamin deficiencies, medications, serious blood disorders like Leukemia and Lymphoma or other bone marrow problems.

Infection related problems should settle within few weeks after recovery from infection. One has to be vigilant in not missing out cancer or serious conditions while looking after patients with low platelets.

Many patients suffer from condition called ITP (Immune Thrombocytopenia) where their body recognises their platelets as foreign and destroys them. Not all these patients need treatment despite low platelet counts as they do not always cause problems.

Every treatment has its own side effects hence; discuss with your doctor the rationale for treatment if you don’t have bleeding symptoms with low platelets.

Be aware serious reactions can occur with platelet transfusions.

Some Ggeneral measures to take if you have low platelets:

  • Caution with taking Aspirin, Clopidogrel or blood thinning medications
  • Caution with strong painkillers like Ibuprofen.
  • Do not consume excessive garlic and mustard as they reduce the platelet function
  • There is no proven scientific evidence papaya leaf juice-causing rise in platelet count

By:Dr Padmaja Lokireddy

(The author is Consultant Haemato oncology and Stem cell Transplant at Apollo Hospitals in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad)

Show Full Article
Print Article
Next Story
More Stories