10 Factors That Influence Platelet Life Span

10 Factors That Influence Platelet Life Span
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Platelets are cell fragments with a primary role of functioning as an essential component in the process of blood clotting and coagulation. The platelets along with the red blood cells and white blood cells, work altogether in the regulation and normal functioning of the blood system.

The blood cells have each of their own different life spans as well as individual functions. Among the three, the platelets are the smallest but one of the most important factors in blood clotting. If blood platelets don’t regulate properly, such as inability to renew adequately at normal intervals, then blood dysfunction or disorder can occur.

The general lifespan of a platelet is about 10 days. The normal platelet count in the human blood ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 per micro liter of blood. The exact amount of platelet count will vary among the different body parts and organs.

In cases of specific medical conditions, the platelet levels in the blood may either increase or decrease. A very common condition is a disorder called thrombocytopenia where platelet count levels drop below normal ranges.

There are actually several reasons behind drops in the amount of platelets. Thrombocytopenia can also act as a catalyst to trigger other idle diseases already present in the body. The display of low platelet count indicates a need for immediate medical help due to the risk of bleeding. This makes it an utmost importance to maintain and ensure proper management and diet that favors a person with low platelet count.

On the other hand, an abnormal increase in platelets, which is usually also secondary to various medical conditions, is referred to as thrombocytosis.


Platelets life span depend on certain factors and lifestyle activities. They can be classified into the following:


One of the most important factors that determine platelet life span is genetics. It has been found out throughout several researches that normal platelet count in the human blood has deep influences from genes. The life span of platelets are also advanced and rooted in the way how a person lives and carries his lifestyle.

There are studies that indicate that lifestyle activities can trigger heredity or genes. The normal life span of platelets, as mentioned earlier, is just about 10 days. But with genetic influence, this can either increase or decrease, accordingly.


Age is one of the prime factors that affects the life span of a person’s platelet. It does not only serve as one of the factors that determine platelet life span, but also influences the count of platelets.

With the process and progressions of aging, the capacity of body systems and regulation becomes reduced affecting the growth and formation of platelets in the body. As age increases, the body’s ability to hold the 10-day platelet life span decreases.

Sialic Acid:

Sialic acid plays a very crucial role in the life span of platelets as it circulates in the body. In the span of 7 to 10 days, which is also the regular time for the platelet cycle, the sialic acid content of platelets decreases during circulation affecting them to a large extent.

Galactose, which helps to determine the sialic acid presence, can rapidly change or alter the life spans of platelets. The functions of the sialic acid is not fully recognized, but have been found to have a very crucial role in the life span of platelets.

Underlying Disease/s:

If the human body suffers from an underlying medical condition that has an effect on platelets, it can be used as an indicator to identify existing influences on the life cycle of platelets. If platelets are not produced enough to keep up and maintain balance against the death of platelets, the body will suffer from thrombocytopenia.

In thrombocytopenia, the platelet count becomes visibly low, and the resultant medical disorder can lead to serious complications.  Pregnancy is also a common factor that can lead to a low platelet count, but normal platelet life span is observed to remain intact.

Food Habits:

A person’s food habits and diet regimen is also one of the most important factors that determine platelet count as well as the life span of platelets. There are certain foods that can help increase platelet count as well as alter platelet life span. Foods such as green leafy vegetables, foods with high zinc content, and whole grains, keep platelets healthy and increase in count.

Prolonged Medicine Intake:

It is widely known that the popular pain killers people are used to can be harmful to the body. It may help achieve ease of pain for the time being, but in the long run, excessive use can cause certain factors in the blood to be acutely altered.

Pain killers contain substances with a capacity to directly create a damaging effect on blood components and various other organs, especially if not monitored carefully. The composition of the blood may possibly also change to an imbalanced state due to the effects of chemical substances. With prolonged intake of pain relievers, it doesn’t just affect platelets but can even lead to organ failure in some individuals.

Bone Marrow:

Blood platelets are developed and produced inside the bone marrow. If a disorder associated with the bone marrow is present, platelet life span will likely decrease. In case of acute medical disorders like leukemia or other forms of cancer, the bone marrow is involved suggesting that platelet count and life span may likely be affected.

Blood Transfusion:

Blood transfusions may be given to a patient in cases of acute injury or other purposes such as treatment of blood disorders. Since blood transfusion is an introduction of foreign blood, there can be body reactions including a tendency of changes in platelet life span.

Medical conditions that have resulted from improper blood transfusion can influence the regulation and life span of platelets.

Congenital Thrombocytopenia:

In the case of the platelet-related medical disorder called congenital thrombocytopenia, the platelet count reaches a level lower than the normal range. It can even drop to an amount of about 100,000 per micro liter of blood. This makes it difficult for the body to maintain the proper platelet circulation rate of 7 to 10 days, and instead decreased to 5 days or less.

Abnormal Accumulation of Cells:

If cells accumulate abnormally in any part of the body, platelet count and life cycle will likely be affected. A high impact accumulation happens usually around the bone marrow where a decrease in the life span of platelet can be observed, making them greatly ineffective.

Key Takeaway:

Platelets are one of the most important blood components in the human body considering that any abnormal changes can be dangerous. The above mentioned factors can either be personally controlled with lifestyle or not, but we can act accordingly to make things better. Identifying the specific factors that influence platelet lifespan gives the understanding that their growth and regulation is possible to be impaired. Also, check out the diagnostic procedures to detect abnormal platelet count.

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About the Author:

Melissa Gomez, RN, MSN is a board certified nurse and has been a contributing writer for the past five years. Ms. Gomez has a special focus on platelet-related illness prevention and health promotion.

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