There are several blood disorders, including low platelets. Blood is comprised of several different cells. Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are colorless blood cells. When part of the body becomes injured, the body sends a signal to the platelets, which join together, rush out to the site of the injury, spread over it, and form a clot. The clot stops the bleeding to prevent excessive blood loss. When platelet counts are low, a condition that is also referred to as thrombocytopenia, the blood does not clot effectively.
Symptoms include excessive bleeding, easy and excessive bruising, petechiae (a collection of small, red or purplish dots that resembles a rash), frequent nosebleeds, heavy menstruation, bloody in the urine and stools, and bleeding gums. The condition can be mild or severe, depending on the root cause.
There are several causes of thrombocytopenia; the following eight are the most common causes of this condition.
1. Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).
ITP is an autoimmune disease. It can be mild or severe, and in some cases, it can be chronic. The immune system of people who have this condition mistakenly identifies the platelets as foreign objects, attacks them, and destroys them. The body produces enough platelets, but as they are produced, they are destroyed. As a result, the blood cannot effectively clot, which can lead to excessive bleeding, easy bruising, and all of the other symptoms mentioned above.
ITP is a rare condition, but it’s more common in women than men. ITP can occur as a result of an infection, such as hepatitis, HIV, or H. Pylori; it can also be idiopathic, meaning the cause is unknown. If left untreated, ITP can become serious or even fatal.
There are a variety of treatment options; prednisone (steroids), chemotherapy, and a splenectomy (removal of the spleen) are common treatments.