Low platelet count is known as thrombocytopenia. Most of the time, it is a secondary effect of another disease or a side-effect of some medicines. Let’s find out why some people suffer from low blood platelet count.
Decreased platelet production
In some medical problems, your body may not be able to make adequate amount of platelets. These are generally produced in the bone marrow by megakaryocytes. If bone marrow is affected by any type of disease, production of platelet can be disturbed. Leukaemia, cancer, lymphoma that affects the bone marrow may hamper in the normal bone marrow function and as a result of that number of platelet produced can go down. Aplastic anaemia prevents bone marrows present your body from making the necessary platelets. Myelofibrosis can also reduce the production of platelets in your body. People who undergo chemotherapy may have some damaged bone marrow cells and as a result of that production of platelets may go down from the required number.
Decreased platelet survival
It is a fact that the normal lifespan of platelets in the blood is about a week. Some health conditions can result in decreasing platelet survival and can cause from thrombocytopenia. Such a condition is generally seen in case of a viral infection where the platelets are destructive. When you take some medicines like quinine, some antibiotics, heparin, penicillin and sulphonamides and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, they can force your immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies combine with platelets and then target them for destruction. There are other ways which can result in destruction of platelets. If there is a blood transfusion, bypass surgery or transplantation of man-made heart valves, then because of these mechanical devices platelets may be distracted. People who suffer from the severe bleeding disorder known as DIC may also see higher platelet destruction in their bodies.
Dilution of platelets
This is one of the most common causes of platelet count reduction. Delusional thrombocytopenia can result in lower count of platelets. If somehow you need to undergo a large blood transfusion where about 1.5 times of your blood volume is replaced, delusional platelets may happen. The blood stored for blood transfusion may have platelets which may lose their function after a few days. When that happens, even though plasma and red blood cells are replaced in the body, the platelets are not replaced and as a result of that lower levels of platelets are seen in such people.
Platelet sequestration by the spleen
Your spleen is very important for regulation of the numbers of red blood cells and platelets in the blood. It is also important in regulating your immune system. You will find 30 to 40% of your platelets in the spleen. If for one reason or another your spleen is enlarged, it may retain up to 90% of platelets. When that happens, your blood will have less number of platelets. Medical problems like blood cancers which involved the spleen, liver disease can increase the size of the spleen and can sequester the big number of platelets. That is a condition which can be critical and it is very important for you to consult a doctor about it.
Some medicines can result in reduction of platelet numbers. Platelet number reduction can happen as a side effect of some medicines. Such medicines include heparin, quinine, quinine, sulpha drugs, and anticonvulsant medications. So, if you see reduction in platelet counts after a blood test and you are taking any of these medicines, is very important that you consult your doctor and find out what options you have.