What Are Platelets In Blood?

Platelets

What are platelets?

Platelets

Platelets are disk-shaped cells that can be seen in the spleen and blood. Thrombocytes are another name for platelets. Megakaryocytes, which are extraordinarily massive cells in the bone marrow, are broken down into platelets. They aid in the formation of blood clots, which either slows or stops bleeding and aid wound healing.   

Platelets that are too many or too few, or platelets that aren’t working properly, might cause difficulties. The number of platelets in a person’s blood can aid in the diagnosis of certain diseases or ailments. Platelets will coagulate and halt the bleeding by plugging the opening in the blood vessel.

Platelets aid in blood coagulation. If your platelet count is low, you may bleed profusely. Some cancers, cancer treatments, drugs and autoimmune diseases can cause the syndrome. When the underlying reason is addressed, platelet counts frequently improve.

Platelets are, in general, classified as low blood platelets and high blood platelets.

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Low blood platelets

Thrombocytopenia is a condition in which your blood contains low blood platelets. You may experience minor to severe bleeding. It is possible that the bleeding can be either exterior or internal.  You may not need therapy if the problem is minor. Medicines or blood or platelet transfusions may be required in more serious situations.

High blood platelets

If your platelet count is high, you may have a higher chance of a blood clot. This is called thrombocythemia. If there are no indications or symptoms, you may not need treatment. In other cases, people who have it may need high blood platelet treatment with medicines or procedures.

Types of platelets

Platelets are classified into the following types based on the condition and severity of the platelets.

Adhesion

Platelet adhesion plays a critical role in response to vascular injury, and it is typically regarded as the initial step in which single platelets adhere to cellular and extracellular matrix constituents of the artery wall and tissues through the specific membrane receptors.

Aggregation

Platelet aggregation refers to platelets’ capacity to stick together and form the hemostatic plug, which is a crucial component of primary hemostasis. Platelet-rich plasma or whole blood can be used for this procedure. Even within the normal range, platelet aggregation is related to platelet count.

In other words, platelet aggression can also be defined as the process by which platelets bind to one other at sites of arterial damage, which is known to be important in the formation of hemostatic plugs and thrombosis.

Coagulation

Platelets are small blood cells that assist your body stop bleeding by forming clots. When a blood artery in your body is injured, it sends messages to your platelets.

Platelets rush to the injured area and form a clot to stop the bleeding. This process is known as coagulation. Coagulation involves mechanisms such as activation, adhesion and platelet aggregation.

Symptoms of low Platelets

Some of the symptoms of low blood platelets are discussed and explained below:

Easy or excessive bruising

Easy or excessive bruising

Platelets help to treat blood clotting. Bruising happens when your blood platelets are low. Sometimes, bruising occurs when you are affected by cancer and autoimmune diseases. Particularly, a disorder named Immune thrombocytopenia causes excessive bruising and bleeding problems.

Superficial bleeding into the skin

Bleeding from superficial areas, such as the skin and mucous membranes, indicates problems related to platelets or blood vessels. Bleeding into deep tissues, on the other hand, indicates a clotting problem. Additional information could aid doctors in narrowing the reason.

Prolonged bleeding from cuts

Low platelets lead to unremitting bleeding and make it arduous to form a clot. Prolonged or excessive bleeding takes place when the platelet rate is highly low.

Bleeding from your gums or nose

Your gums may be inflamed, or you may have Thrombocytopenia if they bleed when you wash your teeth and don’t stop bleeding on their own. Your body may not have enough platelets to form a blood clot if you have this condition. This can result in excessive bleeding in various places of your body, including your gums.

Blood in urine or stools

Blood in urine or stool indicates the strong presence of low blood platelets. This is a serious symptom, and it may cause severe problems if not treated well.

Unusual heavy menstrual flows

Unusual menstrual flow or abnormal menstrual flow occurs due to various reasons. If a woman is affected by low blood platelets, they may face uncontrollable menstrual flow problems. This is a vital symptom typically shown in women when they are affected by low blood platelets.

Fatigue

Low platelet patients often experience fatigue. Fatigue refers to a general feeling of exhaustion or a lack of energy. It’s not the same as feeling sleepy or sluggish.

Functions of platelets

Platelets blood cells help to perform multiple functions, more so in dealing with problems related to bleeding. Platelets are essential for blood clotting. When one of your blood vessels is injured, you normally begin to bleed. Your platelets will clump together to stop the bleeding by plugging the hole in the blood vessel.

The following are some of the essential functions of platelets and their core benefits:

Time takes to close a wound

In most cases, wounds heal in four to six weeks. Chronic wounds do not heal within a reasonable amount of time. Excluding chronic wounds, platelets quickly help to heal wounds by forming a blood clot at a faster pace.

Strongness of a blood clot

Thrombelastography is a technique for determining the strength of a blood clot. Blood clots must be hard enough to mend damaged veins while being flexible enough to avoid fracture and subsequent occlusion of smaller vessels. Red blood cells, platelets and a protein called fibrinogen are used to form blood clots.

Clumping of Platelets

Platelet clumping happens when the coagulation platelets in the blood cling together to create clusters. Platelet clumping has no clinical implications other than prohibiting devices from counting blood platelets effectively.

Time taken to halt the bleeding

Platelet clumping happens when the coagulation platelets in the blood cling together to create clusters. Platelet clumping has no clinical implications other than prohibiting devices from counting blood platelets effectively. As soon as the clumping starts in the bleeding region, bleeding stops naturally.

Causes of low blood platelets

Inadequate flow of platelets in the blood circulation leads to a condition called Thrombocytopenia. This happens when your bone marrow produces insufficient platelets, putting you at risk for bruising and heavy bleeding that takes a long time to stop.

Low blood platelets in the body are caused due to multiple reasons. Listed below are some of the important causes of low blood platelets.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy causes the blood-producing cells in your bone marrow to be suppressed or killed, resulting in decreased platelet production.

Viral infections

Viral infections like HIV or Hepatitis C may affect the production of platelets that attack the bone marrow of the body.

Autoimmune conditions

Autoimmune diseases directly affect the tissues and organs of the body and muscles. There are possibilities that one of the autoimmune conditions like Lupus may reduce the count of platelets.

Pregnancy

Low blood platelet may have to incur a condition called Hemolysis, which is a low platelet count syndrome. Typically, pregnant women with low blood platelets may face this condition often.

Medications

Medications that have anti-coagulants such as warfarin and Heparin may also stop platelet production.

When to see a doctor?

You can consult a doctor if your body incurs signs and symptoms related to low and high blood platelets. If you develop symptoms of Thrombocytopenia, talk to your doctor (low blood platelets).

A medical emergency is a must when the bleeding doesn’t stop. If bleeding cannot be managed using standard first-aid techniques, such as applying pressure to the affected region, seek emergency medical assistance.

Test results of platelets

You can assess the condition of your platelets, like size, number and their health, with the application of the Complete Blood Count (CBC) test.

What Is a CBC test?

A complete blood count (CBC) is a test that determines the number of different blood cells present in the body. A doctor must first take a blood sample. The sample is then sent to a lab to examine the count of RBC, WBC and platelet. A complete blood count (CBC) test aids clinicians in the diagnosis of a variety of medical disorders. Platelets are identified by particular lab markers in the CBC.

What are Platelet Counts?

Platelet counts are nothing but the original number of platelets your body has for one microliter of blood. A low platelet count can lead to uncontrollable bleeding, while a high count can put you at risk for excessive blood clots. These counts are classified into low range, normal range and elevated range.

Low range

A low range of blood platelets consists of less than 150,000 platelets per microliter of blood.

Normal range

The normal range of blood platelets consists of 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood.

Elevated range

The elevated range of blood platelets has 5,00,000 to 10,00,000 platelets per microliter of blood.

Risk factors of platelets

leukemia and anemia illustrations

Some of the risk factors for low or high blood platelets include the following factors:

Leukaemia and other cancers

Leukaemia and other cancers are serious risk factors that may lead to the bad condition of low blood platelets.

Anaemia and its types

When your bone marrow doesn’t produce enough RBC, WBC and platelets, you get Aplastic Anemia. This condition can make you feel exhausted, increase your chances of getting infections and make you bruise or bleed very easily. Early treatment for low blood platelets alleviates the symptoms.

Viral infections

Platelet breakdown can occur due to immunologic factors such as viral infection or nonimmunologic factors such as sepsis or acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy drugs kill fast-growing cells, including platelet-producing cells in the bone marrow. Thrombocytopenia or reduced platelet count is a common chemotherapy side effect.

Heavy alcohol consumption

Alcohol may inhibit the formation of new bone. Bone thinning (osteoporosis) and an increased risk of fractures can result from this bone loss. The bone marrow, which produces blood cells, can potentially be damaged by alcohol. This might result in a low platelet count, which can lead to bleeding and bruising.

Summing up

Platelets are small cells that play a critical role in the body, especially in stopping bleeding. With a simple blood test, your healthcare professional can typically examine whether there’s a concern in your platelet count.

A symptom of another illness has too few or too many platelets. Additional tests will be needed by your doctor to determine the underlying issues so that you may be properly treated and your excessive bleeding or clotting problems can be addressed easily.

FAQ

 1. What is the treatment for low blood platelets?

Low blood platelets can be efficiently treated by replacing the platelets or packed Red Blood Cells through blood transfusions. Sometimes, doctors use drugs like Corticosteroid drugs to boost your platelet count.

2. What is the treatment for high blood platelets?

High blood platelets are treated by administering platelet lowering drugs in the form of hydroxyurea or interferon alfa. Despite this, if the platelet count is high, it can be removed by a method used for treating dialysis.

3. How do blood platelets appear?

Blood platelets cannot be viewed through normal eyes. An electron microscope is used to look at platelets which appear as tiny plates in an inactive form. Platelets are colourless.

4. How many platelets should a person have?

For one microliter of blood, the platelet count typically ranges from 150000 to 450000.

5. What are the risk factors for low platelets?

Some well-known risk factors of low platelets include:
1. Anaemia
2. Autoimmune diseases
3. Bone-marrow failure
4. Hepatitis
5. Bleeding
6. Haemorrhage

 6. Which fruits boost platelet production?

Platelet count can be increased by consuming fruits like pumpkin, beetroot and pomegranate. You can also intake berry varieties like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

7. What is the danger level of platelets?

Platelets reach the danger level at a time in which the platelet count drops below 10000 platelets per microliter.

8. How do you treat a low platelet count?

You can fix the problems of low blood platelets by consuming vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables. Your doctor may also recommend medicinal drugs that neutralise the platelet count of your body.

9. How can I quickly boost my platelet count?

You can easily level up your blood cell counts by adhering to the following methods:
1. Avoid alcohol
2. Drink more water
3. Eat Iron-rich foods
4. Eat spinach and more leafy greens

10. What foods should you avoid if your platelets are low?

You need to avoid foods that consist of alcohol. Refrain from consuming foods like sugar, drinks and refrained grains.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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