Low platelet count also known as thrombocytopenia can be caused by a variety of factors. Platelets are the blood cells that are in charge with proper coagulation of the blood and if they are not present in proper number the risk of bleeding is drastically increased. They induce the blood coagulation by accumulation on the very spot of bleeding. This way they create specific plugs in the perforated blood vessels.
Leukemia and autoimmune diseases are most commonly connected to low platelet count. Even certain medication can lead to drop in number of these blood cells. In case that the number of platelets is not so low the symptoms may not even be present. Still drastic fall in their number is almost always obvious and is very risky as it may lead to internal hemorrhage.
The good thing is that thrombocytopenia is treatable and it usually improves if the primary disease is brought under control. In cases of chronic low platelets number medications and blood transfusion are of major importance.
Causes of Low Platelet Count
- Trapping of Platelets in the Spleen
- Insufficient Production of Platelets
- Increased Destruction of Platelets
Pregnant women may suffer from not severe thrombocytopenia.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura is a medical condition in which the body does not recognize platelets as normal parts of the body. Antibodies are produced and they destroy platelets. Low platelet count is also present in thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.
In autoimmune diseases low platelet count is almost always present.
Bacteriemia is another possible cause of thrombocytopenia.
Hemolytic uremic syndrome apart from thrombocytopenia is presented with increased destruction of erythrocytes and kidney failure.
And finally, certain medication such as heparin, quinidine, quinine, anticonvulsants and certain antibiotics lead to increased destruction of platelets.