10 Low Platelet Count Causes (Disease-Induced)
Blood is an essential component of the human body. It is formed by cells and plasma. Plasma constitutes 55 percent of the blood. It is formed by cells – the red blood cells, white blood cells and the platelets (thrombocyte cells).
Red blood cells or RBCs are responsible in carrying oxygen to different parts of the body and white blood cells or WBCs are responsible in fighting off infection. The platelets are needed by the body to stop bleeding. This happens along with other proteins and components in the blood which help in stopping a bleed, known as coagulation factors.
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The cellular components of the blood are formed in a site called the bone marrow which is located inside long bones. The blood cells form and mature in the bone marrow and are then passed into circulation, in the bloodstream.
However, many diseases can affect production of cells, thereby influencing cellular count such as the platelet count. It will certainly be in a horrible position to experience sudden and uncontrolled gushing out of blood from the nose, gums and other openings of the body.
And sadly, it could happen with a really low platelet count. Before that happens, better manage the drop immediately. This may usually be a costly endeavor but there are affordable options such as all-natural remedies you can learn from money back guaranteed materials like Conquer Low Platelets.
Low Platelet Count Causes By Medical Condition
The following medical conditions cause a low platelet count:
1. Dengue Fever.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by a viral infection. Some patients experience the development of the condition into a life-threatening stage referred to as dengue-hemorrhagic fever, where bleeding, blood plasma leakage, and low platelet count takes place.
The drop in platelet levels is a result of the attack brought about by the virus to the location where platelets are produced, the bone marrow.
The treatment for acute dengue is supportive in approach, using either oral or intravenous rehydration for mild or moderate cases. Intravenous fluids and blood transfusion are included for severe cases of the medical condition. Hospitalization is required in the management of dangerously low platelet count.
2. HIV infection.
HIV is a rapidly spreading viral infection that also causes a reduction in platelet count. HIV can affect any organ of the body which includes the bone marrow, altering platelet production.
The treatment for HIV induced reduction in platelet count is called HAART or Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy. It is aimed at reducing the viral load and preventing further destruction of the bone marrow by giving time for the platelets to revive.
3. Drug induced.
Certain drugs such as paracetamol, diclofenac, fluconazole, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. can cause low platelet count in different ways. Withdrawing the causative drug is the management of choice for a drug induced low platelet count.
In some cases, the platelet count may fall dangerously low and the patient may require hospitalization. The treatment may be refocused on management of any developed complications along with effectively preventing death.
4. Heparin induced.
Heparin is a drug used in thrombotic situations such as pulmonary thromboembolism. A thrombotic state is a situation when abnormal blood clots form due to certain factor/s. Heparin induced thrombocytopenia or HIT is different on how it causes low platelets in comparison to other drugs.
In fact, heparin can cause an increased tendency of forming more clots as opposed to increasing the chances of bleeding. This may sound contradicting but it does happen in many occasion. The reason it happens is because HIT antibodies gets formed against a platelet protein which eventually activates the platelets.
The activated platelets cause increased clot formation, consuming a lot of platelets in the process, resulting to a low platelet count.
5. Idiopathic or Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura.
ITP is an immune mediated causative factor for reduced platelets in the body.
It is defined as the occurrence of isolated low platelet count but with normal bone marrow and absence of other causes of thrombocytopenia.
ITP causes a characteristic purpuric rash along with an increased tendency to bleed. This autoimmune condition that causes the destruction of blood platelets in patients is classified as primary thrombocytopenic purpura. Read about ITP treatment methods.
6. Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura.
TTP is caused by a deficiency of an enzyme which cleaves von Willebrand factor. It can also be a result that happens due to the destruction of this enzyme by antibodies.
Von Willebrand factor, when cleaved, acts upon platelets, normally preventing adhesion and aggregation, thereby keeping blood from clotting together as they should in normal circumstances. This keeps the blood flowing freely in the bloodstream.
In the absence of cleaving, however, the platelets adhere and aggregate to one another forming clots. This lead to increased consumption of platelets resulting to a low platelet count. TTP can be inherited or idiopathic. The inherited form of the disease is called as Upshaw Shulman syndrome.
7. Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.
HUS is mostly preceded by a severe and ignored case of bloody diarrhoea. This results in reduced blood flow to the kidneys due to severe dehydration which may eventually lead to kidney damage.
The loss of blood through the gut in the form of diarrhoea is directly responsible for the reduced platelet count in HUS. There is another form of HUS which is hereditary in nature and not associated with diarrhoea.
The treatment is supportive and revolves around correction of dehydration and prevention of complications due to reduced platelet.
8. Pregnancy induced.
Reduced platelets in pregnancy can be due to many diseases such as connective tissue disorders, viral infections and hypersplenism. But the most notable among these is HELLP syndrome.
This results from an increased blood pressure which is a direct effect of the pregnancy itself. It is managed by drugs like magnesium sulphate that reduces the blood pressure and is safe to use in pregnancy. However, there are cases where a mild drop in platelet count during pregnancy is considered normal.
9. MYH9-related disorders.
Myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9)-related platelet diseases belong to the group of inherited thrombocytopenia. May Hegglin anomaly, Sebastian, Epstein and Fechtner anomalies however, are rare causes of reduced platelet count.
Each of these has a common feature – the presence of large platelets as seen on microscopy. But their distinctive features differentiate one from the other. These diseases can be inherited in any one of the many forms such as autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive or X linked recessive.
10. Evans syndrome.
This is a disease which presents a diagnostic dilemma even to many physicians. It is very similar to HUS in presentation. It can only be differentiated by a blood test called coombs test.
The main complication of low platelet count is the tendency to bleed. Depending on the location of the bleed, it will produce varied symptoms. For example, if the bleed occurs inside the brain, the symptoms will be nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, etc.
The diseases that can cause a reduced platelet count are not exclusive to the list given above but usually fall in one these. As true for any disease, not every condition can be conclusively diagnosed and treated for good, though can be managed. Management for low platelet count depends on the underlying specific medical condition.
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