What should you be concerned about if you have a low platelet count?

Low levels of platelets can cause bruising, nose or gum bleeding, heavy periods, and sometimes tiredness. Some people with thrombocytopenia don’t have any signs or symptoms of it. Find out what is wrong with your platelet count and what might be causing it.

Platelets are parts of the blood that help the blood clot. When a blood vessel breaks, like from an injury, the platelets stick to each other and the edges of the broken vessel to stop blood from flowing out of the body. When there aren’t enough of them, clotting problems show up. This makes it more likely that wound will bleed. So, it’s best not to ignore these kinds of things.

Normal platelets in the blood

PLT is the morphology parameter that shows how many platelets there are. The normal number of platelets in a microliter is between 150 and 400 thousand. If the results are very different from what is expected, more tests, like a skin or bone marrow biopsy, need to be done.

Condition of low platelets and health

Thrombocytopenia refers to a blood cell count of 150,000 or less per microliter ( thrombocytopenia ). It is one of the most frequent causes of uncontrolled bleeding. Having a low platelet count is rarely noticeable, though it can cause fatigue and, in rare cases, the following symptoms:

  • tendency to bruises , petechiae,
  • frequent bleeding from the nose, gums,
  • the appearance of bruises of unknown origin,
  • heavy menstruation ,  
  • the appearance of blood in the stool ,
  • blue or red spots on the skin,
  • enlargement of the spleen.

The symptoms of a low number of platelets depend on how bad the thrombocytopenia is. For example, the risk of bleeding goes up when the number of platelets in the blood drops below 60,000/l. If your platelet count drops below 10,000/l, you are most likely to have dangerous internal bleeding. If your platelet count is low, you should always see a doctor.

Causes of a low platelet count

A low platelet count can be caused by:

  • leukemia or other cancers
  • AIDS,
  • hepatitis C,
  • major,
  • mononucleosis,
  • measles,
  • high alcohol consumption,
  • chemo- and radiotherapy,
  • deficiency of vitamin B 12 and folic acid in the diet,
  • the use of certain drugs, e.g. heparin, acetylsalicylic acid, antibiotics containing sulfonamides, antiepileptic drugs,
  • autoimmune diseases,
  • spleen disease,
  • enlargement of the spleen.

During pregnancy, there can also be a drop in the number of platelets (it disappears soon after delivery). How to treat it depends on what’s wrong. If the number of platelets is very low, you may need a blood transfusion. If a very low number of platelets isn’t backed up by other tests or signs, the test should be done again. Platelets in the tube may have clumped together, which could cause the count to be low.


Author: DoctorMaryam.org

4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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