Blood Platelet Disorders

Below you will find more information about Blood Platelet Disorders from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Blood Platelet Disorders it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Blood Platelet Disorders and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Blood Platelet Disorders comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.

Definition

A blood platelet disorder refers to an abnormally low number of platelets, the particles in blood that help with clotting. As a result, blood does not clot normally for the patient with a low platelet count.

Diagnosis

Doctors try to identify the cause, so that appropriate measures can be used. Symptoms may suggest the cause of blood platelet disorders. A fever might suggest an infection. An enlarged spleen, felt during a physical examination, suggests a disorder that causes the spleen to grow in size.

Symptoms and Signs

Bleeding in the skin may be the initial sign that the platelet count is low. Often, numerous tiny red dots appear in the skin on the lower legs. People may form bruises easily. Slight injuries sometimes cause small scattered bruises on the skin. The gums may bleed, and blood may be mixed in the stool or urine. Bleeding due to injuries may be hard to control. Bleeding worsens as the platelet count goes down. When the count is below 20,000, bleeding in the digestive tract or brain may result even when there is no injury. This bleeding may be life threatening for the affected individual.

Causes

The platelet count may go down if the bone marrow does not produce enough platelets. Leukemia, lymphomas, infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, which causes AIDS), and a variety of other bone marrow disorders can create this effect. Or the platelet count may decrease if the spleen increases in size and traps platelets. Thus, fewer platelets reside in the bloodstream. Myelofibrosis and some forms of cirrhosis can also create this effect. The body may utilize or destroy too many platelets. HIV infection, lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus), idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, and hemolytic-uremic syndrome cause this effect. Some drugs, such as heparin and certain antibiotics, also create this effect. In idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, the immune system produces abnormal antibodies that can destroy the body's platelets. The reason for this happening is unknown. The bone marrow produces more platelets to make up for it but cannot keep up with the demand. Taking heparin may also lead to a low platelet count. Heparin is a drug that causes the blood to clot less (anticoagulant). But ironically, it sometimes stimulates clot formation. Then the platelet count goes down because so many platelets are used up. Drinking alcohol may lead in a low platelet count by damaging the bone marrow. Aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and antihistamines may hinder with how platelets function, although the platelet count remains normal.

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