What causes low platelets

The body normally produces about 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter in our circulating blood. These platelets live for only 10 days but the bone marrow renews this supply continually.

What causes low platelets is called thrombocytopenia and this could lead to either no bleeding or severe bleeding.

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The bleeding increases as the number of platelets decrease. When the platelet count dips down to below 10,000 this could lead to internal bleeding without any injury at all albeit this rarely happens.

What causes low platelets? It is a medical problem that involves the bone marrow such as leukemia and anemia as well as infections such as HIV – all these suppress the marrow’s ability to produce new platelets. Drugs used in chemotherapy and over consumption of alcohol also affects the bone marrow’s ability to produce new platelets.

Sometimes the body either destroys or uses up the platelets faster than the marrow could reproduce. This is what causes low platelets too. Conditions such as:

ITP or Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura is when the immune systems mistaken the platelets as threat and forms antibodies to attack them. This is just one of the reasons as to what causes low platelets.

Other reasons to what causes low platelets would be autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis which could destroy the platelets because of a malfunction in the immune system.

Pregnancy may cause a mild thrombocytopenia and blood poisoning or bacterial infection could also breakdown or destroy the platelets.

A rare condition, TTP or Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura occurs when there are formations of small blood clots through the body and this leads to using large amounts of platelets. TTP could be genetic or associated with an infection or chronic illness however, often it is unknown as to the cause of TTP.

Another rare disorder to what causes low platelets would me Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. This causes the platelets to drop and destroys the red blood cells and damages the kidney function this could be caused by bacteria such as ingestion of E. Coli – from eating undercooked meat.

Medications could cause thrombocytopenia as a reaction to the drug the immune system confuses the reaction as something that is attacking and destroying the platelets such as: quindine, sulfa-containing antibiotics, heparin, diabetes medication, gold salts and rifampin. Note however that heparin induced thrombocytopenia could cause too much blood clotting and not bleeding and thus increasing clot formation deep in the leg blood vessel and this could travel to the lungs and thus could be life-threatening.

An enlarged spleen may cause disorders and could keep too many platelets and could lower the number of platelets circulating.

If you notice any unusual bruising or bleeding or if you notice a pin-point sized rash or spots, also called petechiae, see your doctor right away. Proper evaluation and diagnosis is important. If you are on Heparin and develop or feel any pain in your leg that seem to be getting worst or is increasing in pain, this could be a symptom of a blood clot and therefore you’ll have to see the doctor right away as this could be life threatening.

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