10 Top Causes, Symptoms & Treatment For Low Platelet Count (Thrombocytopenia)

 

Low platelet count also known as thrombocytopenia is a medical condition in which our platelets are lower than normal. Last week my son suffered from dengue fever in which his platelet count dropped drastically and we used natural remedies and methods to raise his platelet levels. I also did a quite of bit of research about it and wanted to record what I learnt in the blog.

What Are Platelets?

Platelets also called as thrombocytes are colorless cells produced by bone marrow and are present in our blood stream and their main function is clotting. They stop bleeding by clumping and clotting and this process is called hemostasis.

When there is injury and blood loss, platelets gather at the place in large numbers, they attach themselves to the substances present in the area and then they connect to each other and form a plug thus arresting the bleeding.

Unless the bleeding and wound is too large they arrest the bleeding effectively. Bone marrow which is found inside the bones contains stem cells which mature and develop into white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

The problem occurs when the bone marrow is destroyed due to some diseases like leukemia or if the production is slowed down due to life style factors like drinking, toxin exposure and taking certain medications.

Platelet Count Normal Range?

The normal levels of platelets found in the blood are 150000 to 450000. The platelet count can vary during menstruation. In healthy people platelets last for about 7 to 10 days after which they die at which point they are replaced by new platelet cells produced by bone marrow.

When the platelet count drops down to 30000 to 50000 per micro liter, the risk of bleeding when injured increases and if it drops below 15000, we start bleeding even without injury and it gets really dangerous the more the platelet count drops.

You can take a blood test called complete blood count to find the platelet count. We were doing the total blood count test daily for my son to determine the platelet count when he had dengue fever till it started reversing and started the uptrend.

Low Platelet Count Symptoms:

There will not be any symptoms when the platelet count is mildly low but when the platelet drops very low some might experience external bleeding from the nose or gums. The most common symptoms of very low platelet count is difficulty stopping the wounds from bleeding.

I had a friend who suffered from low platelet count and it used to be difficult to arrest the blood flow from even a small wound for her. Some women might experience heavy menstrual flow.

Low Platelet Count Treatment:

The usual treatments are medications to increase platelet count, platelet transfusions and surgery in very severe cases. There are also wonderful home remedies for increasing the platelet count (I will be posting them this week) but the remedies will be of no use if we don’t change our lifestyle habits that lead to low platelet levels in the first place:

a. Eliminate Alcohol:

If you have low platelet count, try to cut down the amount of alcohol you are consuming and over time try to eliminate it completely as it decreases the production of platelets.

b. Eat Healthy:

We all know that eating healthy is vital to good health but it is especially important when you are suffering from low platelet count as it can lead to deficiencies like vitamin b12 which can slow down the production of platelets. Try to eliminate processed foods, white sugar, sodas and junk food that has empty calories providing us with zero nutrition. Also increase your intake of water.

c. Get Rid Of Toxins:

Try to go natural and buy organic produce as much as possible. Try to use natural cleaning products at home like lemon, vinegar and baking soda instead of store bought chemicals.

Also instead of using chemical based beauty and makeup products, try making your own face packs, shampoos and hair oils without any chemicals. You will find many natural recipes in this channel.

Try not to reheat food in microwave often especially in plastic containers. Don’t use synthetic fragrance, use pure essential oils for fragrance.

d. Learn Home Remedies:

Try your best to treat common problems like cold and flu with home remedies instead of taking antibiotics each time. Once you learn to use natural remedies to treat common problems, you will never go back to taking antibiotics often.

e. Drink Nilavembu Kudineer:

Instead of using pain killers for reducing pain and inflammation which lower platelet count, use natural pain killers like nilavembu kudineer which have anti inflammatory and platelet increasing properties. You can find the recipe for it here.

 10 Top Causes Of Low Platelet Count (Thrombocytopenia):

Platelet count can drop due to three reasons, when there is a decreased production of platelets or when they are trapped and finally when there is increased destruction of platelets.

When They are Trapped:

1. Enlarged Spleen:

Spleen is an organ the size of the fist found above our stomach. It’s primary function is to fight infection and maintain proper fluid balance. When the spleen gets enlarged due to infections, liver cirrhosis or other liver diseases, it starts trapping large number of platelets thus reducing the platelet count.

Increased Breakdown:

2. Pregnancy & Menstruation: 

Few pregnant women experience mild slowing of platelet production during pregnancy which goes away after child birth. There will be fluctuations when we have our periods too.

3. Bacterial & Viral Infections:

Bacterial and viral infections also can lower platelets. When we suffer from viral fevers like dengue fever and zikka virus, it can drastically lower our platelet count to dangerously low levels.

4. Medications:

Certain medications can lower our platelet count, anti inflammatory medicines, seizure medications and antibiotics and certain pain killer medicines like ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen can lower platelet count. 

5. Auto Immune Diseases:

Low platelet count can be caused due to auto immune diseases like idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, idiopathic means unknown cause. Some of the other immune diseases that leads to low platelet count are thrombocytopenic purpura, antiphospholipid syndrome and lupus.

Decreased Production:

6. Alcohol Consumption:

Consuming alcohol slows down the production of platelets. Especially if alcohol is consumed in excess coupled with a poor diet, the reduction will be significant. If you are suffering from low platelet count try eliminating alcohol first.

7. Cancer & Anemia:

Leukemia, group of cancers that start in the bone marrow resulting in abnormally high levels of white blood cells can also cause low platelet count. Since the bone marrow is destroyed in patients suffering from leukemia, it results in low levels of platelets. Also in a certain type of anemia called aplastic anemia, the bone marrow is destroyed resulting in low platelet count.

8. Toxin Exposure:

Regularly exposing ourselves to toxins can also lead to low platelet count. Some of the common toxins that slows down platelet production are pesticides, arsenic and benzene. They are usually found in regular store bought cleaners, fruits and vegetables that are dipped in pesticides….

9. Genetics:

Certain genetic diseases can also lead to low platelet count. Diseases like gaucher’s disease and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (affects babies and the platelet antibodies are inherited from father or mother) reduces platelet count.

10. Nutritional Deficiencies:

Having a poor diet of processed food and junk food often can lead to nutritional deficiencies like vitamin B12, folic acid, iron and
vitamin k which can contribute to low platelet production. Even
dehydration can lead to low platelet count.

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