Low Platelet Count (Thrombocytopenia) : What Is It?
How is it defined?
Low Platelet Count is known also as Thrombocytopenia. Platelets are the type of cells in the blood that help promote clotting when there is bleeding due to trauma or injury. Platelets basically plug the holes of blood vessels that are leaking by forming clumps of cells.
A low platelet count can be caused by many factors. Diseases such as leukemia and immune disorders can reduce platelets. It can be a result of an adverse reaction to a medication such as heparin. By changing life-style and eliminating known causes you can increase low blood platelets. Herbal remedies can also be highly effective. Conventional medicine treats thrombocytopenia by the use of medications, surgery and many times if blood loss is great a transfusion may be necessary.
Signs and Symptoms to Look For When There Is A Low Platelet Count
1) Too much bleeding after a dental repair or surgery
2) Abnormal menstrual flow that is too heavy
3) Bleeding gums is a common sign
4) Unstoppable bleeding from minor cuts
5) Stool and urine may have blood
6) Petechiae may be present. This almost always is seen more in the lower extremities. It appears like small blood dots under the dermis (skin). Or like a microscopic bruise.
7) Too much bruising without any form of trauma or bruising easily is also a sign
What are the most common causes of low blood platelet count?
The accepted range for blood platelets is around 150,000 to 450,000. Blood platelets are produced in the bone marrow about every 10 days. Medicines like aspirin can stop the bone marrow from producing platelets and cause more trouble by thinning out the blood.
Platelets can be destroyed by the Spleen
The spleen’s normal function is to trap and eliminate old and bad cells so they can be replaced by good ones. If for some reason platelets are abnormal, then the spleen will destroy large amounts of them. This happens in ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura also known as Immune thrombocytopenia). In ITP, antibodies may be attached to the platelets which cause the spleen to destroy them.
Conventional medicine takes the spleen out to prevent this. But this is only attacking the symptoms or effects and not the root of the problem. Even after this surgery, many still have trouble with a low platelet count. This is like fixing a chair by breaking its leg. What would be correct to do is to try and get the body to stop producing these destructive antibodies.
The body is not producing enough
Different diseases such as leukemia and certain types of anemia where the bone marrow is not working correctly may also develop a low platelet count. Other factors that reduce platelet production are over consumption of alcohol, drugs for treating cancer, viruses and AIDS.
Platelets are destroyed due to many factors
1) Pregnancy has been connected with a form of thrombocytopenia that is usually mild
2) As mentioned before ITP destroys platelets through the immune system
3) Lupus can also cause thrombocytopenia
4) Bacterial infection of the blood
5) Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome which many times result from E coli contaminated food can cause a low blood platelet count due to damage to the kidneys
6) TTP. Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia is a condition where the body clots all over and uses up the platelets
Serious complications can result from low platelets
Internal bleeding and bleeding in the brain can happen if platelets go lower than 10,000 in the blood. This is rare because many doctors attack the problem rapidly before it gets to that level.
Certain herbs are very useful in preventing and controlling problems of low platelet count. Herbal and natural remedies can help regulate the immune system preventing platelet destruction