What is blood?
It is a specialized body fluid that contains plasma and cells. Blood supplies essential substances around the body such as sugars, hormones and oxygen.
Blood consist of:
- red blood cells or erythrocytes
- white blood cells or leucocytes
- platelets or thrybocytes
What are platelets?
They are tiny blood cells that help blood to clot and stop bleeding. If one of your vessels is damaged, it sends a signal to the platelets. The platelets then rush to the site of damage and plug (clot) to fix the damage.
The process of spreading along the surface of the damaged blood vessel to clot is called adhesion.
A normal platelet counts is between 150000 to 450000 platelets per microliter of blood.
What is high and low platelets count?
Thrombocytopenia is a condition whereby the bone makes few platelets, or they are destroyed. If the platelets count is low, bleeding can occur under the skin as a bruise. It can also happen inside the body as internal bleeding or outside the body through a cut that can’t stop bleeding or nose bleeding.
Thrombocytopenia can be caused by many conditions like an abnormal immune system, leukemia, pregnancy, liver disease and infections.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Easy or excessive bruising
- Prolonged bleeding from a cut
- Bleeding from your gums or nose
- Blood in urine or stool
- Enlarged spleen
Factors that decrease platelets
- Leukemia and other cancers
- Some type of anemia
- Chemotherapy and radiation drugs
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Viral infection such as hepatitis C
Essential thrombocythemia: bone marrow making many platelets over 500000 per microliter of blood. This can lead to excessive bleeding, symptoms include blood clots that form and block blood supply to the brain or the heart. Medical doctors don’t understand this condition but changes in bone marrow cell (mutation) can lead to some cases.
Secondary thrombocytosis. This is too many platelets, it’s caused by bone marrow problem, and another disease stimulates the bone marrow to make more platelets. Platelets goes back to normal after the other problem is solved.
Platelet dysfunction: rare diseases are linked to poor platelet functions, meaning the number of platelets are normal but they are not working properly, sometimes they are affected by medicines like aspirin.
Platelets are tiny but very important, they help in blood clotting, if you have frequent nose bleeds, cuts that bleed for long and easy bruising you should visit a doctor a simple blood test will help you know your platelet count
By Gladice Lynne
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