If there are such conditions such as anemia and leukemia, which are low levels of red blood cells and white blood cells respectively, then there is also a medical condition known as thrombocytopenia, which happens when the blood has low levels of thrombocytes or platelets, the component responsible for blood clotting. Normal platelet count in the blood ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets in every microliter of blood. Falling below the 150,000 mark already indicates thrombocytopenia, but it becomes fatal once it reaches 20,000 and below.
So what are the dangers of having thrombocytopenia? In simple terms, this condition can lead to bleeding if not treated accordingly. Bleeding can range from mild to severe, depending on the severity of damage to your blood vessels and how low your platelet levels are. A platelet count of 50,000 microliters can already cause mild bleeding. Also, bleeding can either be internal or external, with the former being more serious more often. This is because internal bleeding can be fatal if not diagnosed early.
There are several factors that are being viewed as thrombocytopenia causes by medical experts. One of the causes involves the bone marrow, which is essential for blood production. If there are problems in the bone marrow, it may affect is manufacturing of blood cells, hence contributing to thrombocytopenia, as well as low red blood cell and white blood cell count. There can also be decreased platelet production as a side effect of chemotherapy and also as a result of metabolic disorders and viral infections, like HIV for example.
It can also be that the bone marrow is producing enough platelets, but the body either uses them up or destroys them through the workings of some other autoimmune disorders without any known etiology. Examples of such diseases that can cause platelet destruction include HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or lymphocytic leukemia.
The spleen can also be another one of the causes of thrombocytopeni, since this is the place that stores almost one-third of the platelets in the body. If there is a problem with the spleen, the release of platelets into the bloodstream can also be adversely affected, thereby causing thrombocytopenia.
Another condition counted as one of the thrombocytopenia causes is disseminated intravascular coagulation or DIC, in which the body’s clotting processes are turned “on”. DIC usually stems out from infections like meningitis, cancer, and blood disorders. DIC can also happen as a complication of pregnancy.
It is essential to treat thrombocytopenia based on its severity and the presence or absence of bleeding. When there is life-threatening bleeding present, thrombocytopenia should be treated immediately through transfusion of platelet concentrate. Bleeding should be stopped as well. If there is no major bleeding noted, the treatment should focus on treating the underlying thrombocytopenia causes. For example, if an infection is thought to have caused thrombocytopenia, antibiotic treatment should be initiated so as to curb the infection. If it is caused by the presence of malignant cancer cells, chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be necessary, which can ironically worsen thrombocytopenia at first. However, this is only temporary for the bone marrow will eventually recover.
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