10 Importance of Platelets Blood Test

Platelets Blood Test
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The medical diagnostic procedure in determining whether you have a high or low platelet count is called a Thrombocyte Count, Platelet Count or Platelet Blood Test (PLT Blood Test).

It is important to monitor platelet count in order to diagnose or screen various diseases or medical conditions that may affect the process of blood clotting.  This can also be used as part of an examination in the treatment of bone marrow disease, bleeding disorder, or excessive clotting disorder.

It will be a really horrible situation 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 it 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.

Platelets Blood Test

Platelet Blood Test is part of a complete blood count (CBC), which is a panel of tests often done as part of a general medical examination.

Furthermore, the test can be used to monitor people with underlying conditions or who are undergoing treatment with drugs known to affect platelet count levels.  It can also be used for the intent of monitoring patients under the process of treatment of any platelet disorder to identify if therapy being provided is effective.

A platelet count may be performed along with other diagnostic procedures, especially the examinations that involve the determination of platelet functionality, as well as other tests that assess coagulation status such as PT and PTT.  If results are found not to be within the normal range, a number of other tests may be added to identify factors in relation to the cause.

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When is platelets blood test important:

Here are ten reasons you should have your platelet count monitored.  It may not be always necessary and the situations may usually end up not associated with platelet levels, but when it comes to your health you’ll never be too safe, so why take a chance?

1. Unexplained or Easy Bruising

While bruising may simply sound to be a temporary condition, and something considered as minor and nothing really to worry about, it could be a sign of a low platelet count.

If bruising continues to develop, then you should see your doctor and ask for an opinion.  He may send you for a test to determine your platelet count, and may suggest continual monitoring even until the findings are cleared.

2. Prolonged Bleeding from a Small Cut or Wound

If you often find yourself having difficulty in stopping a small cut or scratch from bleeding, then it may be an indication that your platelet count is low.

While the condition usually rights itself, there are cases where the situation will persist. If so, a physician may send you for a platelets blood test. If findings suggest that your platelet count is low, he may recommend regular monitoring until the problem straightens itself out with therapy.

3. Frequent Nosebleeds

While everyone may experience a nosebleed from time to time, it may be without lasting harm. However, if you are experiencing nosebleeds fairly often without known explanation, then you should have your platelet count checked.

If the results show that levels are lower than normal, regular monitoring is recommended which may be performed along with physician prescribed procedures until levels return to normal. Read about how to stop nosebleeds.

4. Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Platelets blood test is an important diagnostic procedure but like in most of the conditions mentioned here, there can also be several possible causes behind gastrointestinal bleeding. A platelet count that differs from normal levels doesn’t mean to be a final determiner in itself.

Other tests should also be performed to rule out other possible conditions. This also allows to check if it is something serious or something that actually doesn’t need urgent concern.

5. Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

While some women do naturally have a heavy flow, it isn’t always the case. However, if menstrual bleeding becomes severe, then it can be a situation that can be alarming. Don’t panic right away.

A heavy menstrual bleeding is one good reason to have your platelet count checked to see if there is any problem. It will be useful to keep a monitoring record on the time of onset, volume, and frequency. Read about irregular menstrual period.

6. Small Red Spots on the Skin (Petechiae)

The small, 1-2mm red or purple-colored spot on the skin is caused by a minor hemorrhage (broken capillary blood vessels).

Petechiae refers to one of the three descriptive types of bleeding in the skin based solely on size, the other two being purpura and ecchymosis.  Petechiae are generally less than 3 mm.

7. Small Purple Spots on the Skin (Purpura)

These red and purple discolorations on the skin do not whiten when you apply pressure.  The condition develop due to bleeding underneath the skin which is often secondary to vasculitis or dietary deficiency of vitamin C (scurvy).

Purpura usually measures 0.3-1 cm (3-10 mm), where petechiae is about less than 3 mm, and ecchymosis larger than 1 cm.

Purpura is a common but nonspecific medical sign; however, the underlying cause is usually one of the following platelet disorders:

a. Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

b. Secondary thrombocytopenic purpura

c. Post-transfusion purpura

8. Bone Marrow Disease

Platelets blood test help determine the functionality of the bone marrow. The bone marrow is the body’s primary manufacturing center for red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.  It is a soft fatty tissue located inside the hollow shafts of bones such as the middle of the chest (sternum) or the hip bone.

In the marrow, a sponge-like network formation is produced through fibrous tissue. This sustains “primitive” cells referred to as hematopoietic stem cells.  These are unlabeled cells that can be utilized by the body to produce any type of blood cell.

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are cytoplasm fragments of very large cells located in bone marrow called megakaryocytes. These fragments are produced in the bone marrow and released to circulate in the blood. Platelets are needed for normal blood clotting. 

When an injury occurs and bleeding takes place, platelets function to stop the bleeding by adhering to the injury site, clumping together (aggregation), and releasing chemical compounds that stimulate further aggregation.  This results in a loose platelet plug at the area of the injury.

Platelets also support what is known as the coagulation cascade, a series of steps that involves the sequential activation of proteins known as clotting factors.  This leads to clot formation that will remain in place until the injury is healed.

9. Excessive Blood Clotting

Excessive blood clotting (Hypercoagulation) disorder is a condition where there exists an increased potential for inappropriate blood clot (thrombus) formation.  Also referred to as thrombophilia.

It is the tendency of a person to develop blood clot formations in various parts of the body. This may include deep veins located in the legs or arteries of the heart.

The disorder may be caused by a condition that developed at anytime in the person’s lifetime (acquired), or due to certain genes passed from parent to child (inherited).

10. General Health Examination

Platelets blood test may be also performed multiple times even when the individual has already been established with a diagnosis. For example, a regular examination to determine response to treatment of individuals with thrombocytosis or high platelets.  An excess in platelets can cause excessive clotting, and even bleeding, because the platelets are not working the way they should.

People with high amounts of platelets don’t frequently manifest any signs or symptoms. The increase in platelet amount will usually be detected upon performing a platelets blood test as part of a medical examination or for other reasons.

 

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Updated: October 10, 2018

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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