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What can high or low platelet count indicate

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are blood cells produced by the bone marrow and are responsible for the process of blood clotting, and there is increased platelet production when bleeding, for example, prevents excessive blood loss.

The platelet reference value is between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets / μL of blood, however some conditions may interfere with the platelet production process, with increasing or decreasing blood concentrations, which is called thrombocytopenia.

Not only the platelet count is important, but also the quality of the platelets produced by the bone marrow. Some diseases related to platelet quality are Von Willebrand's disease, which is related to the coagulation process, Scott's Syndrome, Glanzmann's Thrombasthenia and Bernard-Soulier's Syndrome. In addition, it is important to be aware of the hemoglobin reference range, which can indicate diseases such as anemia, leukemia and pulmonary emphysema.

What can high or low platelet count indicate

High Platelet levels

The increase in the number of platelets, also called platelet or thrombocytosis, can occur due to pathological or physiological causes, with intense exercise, labor, high altitude, smoking, stress or use of adrenaline, for example.

The main pathological causes of thrombocytosis are:

  • Severe hemolytic anemia;
  • Iron deficiency anemia;
  • Myeloproliferative syndromes, such as essential thrombocythemia, polycythemia Vera and myelofibrosis;
  • Sarcoidosis;
  • Acute and chronic infections;
  • Leukemia;
  • After acute hemorrhage;
  • After spleen removal, known as splenectomy;
  • Neoplasms;
  • Ulcerative colitis;
  • After operations.

It is important that the cause of platelet augmentation is identified so that the doctor can indicate the best treatment option.

Low Platelet levels 

In addition to thrombocytosis, another platelet-related disorder is thrombocytopenia, which corresponds to decreased platelets in your blood, which may occur due to the use of some medications, pernicious anemia, autoimmune diseases such as lupus, and nutritional deficiencies, for example. See causes for thrombocytopenia and how to treat it.

How to identify

Usually the increase in the number of platelets does not cause symptoms, being noticed from the accomplishment of the hemogram, which is a blood test that evaluates the quantity and characteristics of blood cells.

In some cases there may appear other symptoms, but they according to the cause, the main ones being nausea, vomiting, dizziness and tingling of the extremities.

How to Lower High Platelets Levels

Depending on your concentration of blood platelets, the presence of symptoms and your general health, the general practitioner or hematologist may recommend the use of acetylsalicylic acid in order to reduce the risk of thrombosis, or hydroxyurea, which is a medication capable to decrease the production of blood cells by your bone marrow.

If your platelet concentration is too high to the point of putting your life at risk, because there is a high chance of clot formation, therapeutic thrombocytopheroesis may be recommended, which is a procedure in which an equipment is used, to remove your excess platelets, and, therefore, helps to balance the circulating platelet values.

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